To learn more and connect with an ambassador, contact:
Naomi Crimm, Ambassador Lead
TCAT is excited to have a team of seven knowledgeable Transit Ambassadors who are reaching deep into the community to help build a Transit Development Plan that addresses the transportation needs of Tompkins County’s diverse population.
Led by Naomi Crimm, (left) who recently completed her master’s degree in regional planning at Cornell University, ambassadors are serving as liaisons between TCAT and their own networks by conducting surveys, facilitating discussions and organizing events to collect feedback to help improve and grow local transit.
“I’m very excited to work with a team that brings such diverse perspectives, experiences, and ideas to the project,” said Naomi. “Their connections in the community and enthusiasm for outreach will enable TCAT to reach wider audiences, so that the TDP can better reflect riders’ needs.”
Tcat Transit Ambassadors are:
Shaniya “Niya” Foster
Niya grew up on Ithaca’s West Hill, and said her concern for transportation safety and a strong desire to reduce transportation barriers drew her to the position. “Reliable transportation seems to be a common issue amongst my neighbors,” she said. “I truly believe there’s always room for improvement especially in the transportation field. I am so very excited to listen to voices and suggestions on how we can better serve the community.”
Emily, a senior at Cornell, said she hopes to help break down transportation roadblocks for students, especially those who are low-income and/or differently abled. Emily, who is studying psychology and music, said that what started as a simple love for transit-themed memes became a deep passion for equitable public transportation and community development, so she is excited to work with TCAT as a Transit Ambassador on the 2020 Transit Development Plan. She said she also wants to help bridge communications gaps for students needing information on how to use TCAT and to direct them to TCAT staff if they need assistance or have questions.
Rachel, who works part-time and lives and works in Ithaca with her two children — a pre-teen and a teen-ager — has many strong supportive relationship with her family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. As an experienced TCAT user, Rachel frequently shows others how to navigate TCAT schedules, website and real-time features at bus stops. “It is very important for people to feel comfortable and confident in their ability to use public transportation to get to where they need to go,” she said. “I am excited to be a Transit Ambassador because I love my community and the people in it. I am intrigued to talk to my community members and get to learn about their experience with using TCAT.”
Atzin, who also grew up in Ithaca and now lives in rural Tompkins County, has worked with local community public service organizations where she has also observed community members facing transportation difficulties. Atzin, who is bilingual, plans to translate for those who speak only Spanish or limited English to provide for a better flow of communications to gauge transportation needs. “I am thankful now for another opportunity to listen and learn from locals and visitors alike about yet another thing we all have in common – the need to get around.”
Since moving to Tompkins County from Burma, Paw has become proficient in English, earned an associated degree and has volunteered for numerous local service agencies to include Catholic Charities, the Learning Partners and Open Doors English. Her ability to speak in the Karen language reaches many in the Burmese community who need assistance in learning about TCAT and their transportation options. “A lack of English makes it difficult to ask questions or request help,’’ Paw said. “I can help TCAT identify the community’s transit needs and improve service for people who depend on buses for their daily life.”
Mike, who moved to the Ithaca area later in his life, said he has worked in local service industries where many people are confronted with tight budgets making public transit essential to their well-being. He said he hopes to reach out to those facing physical limitations in getting around including senior citizens and persons in the disability community. “I have used TCAT extensively since moving to Ithaca and having worked in low-paying service jobs and now living in a retirement residence I think I can bring a specific viewpoint to the table when it comes to public transportation.”
Suzanne is a 1997 graduate of Tompkins Cortland Community College with an A.A.S in Human Services. She went on to receive a B.A. in Community and Human Services from SUNY Empire State College. She is a passionate advocate for individuals in recovery from substance abuse and has embodied this enthusiasm by serving as the Academic Outreach and Program Coordinator for College Initiative Upstate (CIU) since January 2017. Suzanne has lived in Ithaca, NY since 1992 and is the proud mother of two adult sons. She is also an active advocate for marginalized individuals in her community. Most recently, Suzanne was honored to receive the 2020 Tompkins Cortland Community College Distinguished Alumni award. Suzanne is an active member of the TCAT advisory committee, and a daily TCAT rider.