Frequently Asked Questions about TCAT & the Coronavirus Crisis

TCAT is taking as many precautions as possible to protect its riders and employees during the coronavirus crisis. The following is a list of questions and answers we compiled from the feedback we have been receiving from riders and the public. If your questions are not answered here, please send them to tcat@tcatmail.com and we will do our best to answer them.

  1. Question: How is the coronavirus impacting service?

Answer: In response to a substantial drop in ridership, TCAT first reduced service effective March 19, through May 23.  See details here. Ridership is falling because people are wisely staying home with many learning, working and socializing virtually. Due to a steeper drop in ridership following those changes, TCAT will further reduce service starting Mon., March 30. See details here.

The crisis also prompted TCAT to cease accepting fares effective March 20, through April 9, to reduce rider-driver proximity as well as to help many people who may be struggling financially during the crisis.

  1. Question: Why are you running buses during a pandemic?

Answer: Even though people are advised to stay home they still need to travel for essentials, such as to buy food and medicine. We have riders who have no other means of transportation.

To promote social-distancing on the bus, TCAT is limiting capacity on buses to 20 riders at a time starting Fri., March 20 and for an indefinite period.

TCAT will make every effort to provide back-up service in the event of an overflow of riders.

  1. Question: What can I as a rider do to protect myself and others while riding the bus?

Answer: Follow guidelines from health experts, practice good hygiene, wash hands frequently or use hand sanitizer, and please stay home if you are sick or experiencing symptoms of illness. For the first time ever, TCAT is asking everyone to stay home if they can to avoid the potential for contagion.

  1. Question: Shouldn’t TCAT Bus Operators be wearing protective facemasks?

Answer: According to their website, CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. You should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it. A facemask should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected. The use of facemasks also is crucial for health workers and other people who are taking care of someone infected with COVID-19 in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

  1. Question: What is your action plan if your drivers and other essential employees are told by their doctor to stay home or quarantine?

Answer: This is an unprecedented time that requires understanding and patience from everyone. TCAT has a finite number of personnel and we are dealing with unknowns and rapid changes each day and sometimes by the hour. If our drivers are off on sick leave or are advised by a physician to stay home to care for family members, significant others or domestic partners, we will attempt to use back-up drivers to continue to provide service to the best or our ability. If we fall short of drivers, we will cancel specific trips, starting with higher-frequency routes that will have shorter wait times between the canceled trip and the next bus.

  1. Question: What is the best way to get information about any updates about TCAT service?

Answer:

TCAT will do its best to update passengers as soon as possible at:

  •  TCAT Bus Tracker https://realtimetcatbus.availtec.com/InfoPoint/ 
  •  Or check your MyStop or other apps. To download go to https://www.tcatbus.com/Apps
  •  Our customer service representatives are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at (607)277-RIDE (7433). Again, please note, due to high call volumes, we suggest you first go to the Bus Tracker or apps to look for updates if you can.
  1. Question: What are TCAT’s sanitizing protocols?

 Answer: TCAT implemented the following protocols the week of March 9:

  • Bus Cleaning: TCAT procured a professional-grade germicidal electrostatic sprayer for bus handlers to disinfect bus interior surfaces every night at the end of the day’s service period to include stanchions, handrails and seats. This extra step is in addition to their daily routine of cleaning and sanitizing all buses to include Gadabout’s fleet.
  • Facility Cleaning: custodians ̶  every morning before opening time  ̶  will also use the electrostatic sprayer to sanitize surfaces inside Green Street Station (when it is re-opened.) TCAT’s major hub and indoor passenger waiting area. Custodians will also take extra steps in sanitizing employee and public areas within the Willow Avenue facility.
  • Hand Sanitizers:are to be available to riders on all buses.
  • Rider Guidelines:posters with CDC information with COVID-19 prevention and personal hygiene guidelines, such as hand washing and self-isolating in the event of illness, are to be placed in buses and at key shelters.
  • Employee Guidelines: CDC guidelines, as listed above, along with other measures recommended by human resources experts, have been posted in all employee areas.
  • Employee supplies: all employees are being supplied with  hand sanitizers, as well as germicidal wipes with instructions on how to sanitize their personal space.

 

  1. Question: Where can I get more information?

Answer: Just to name a few that are available, the following agencies are providing expert and up-to-date guidelines:

Tompkins County Health Department

New York State Department of Health

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 

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