Mastering the TCAT

One interesting thing about the Cornell college experience is that, because you’re starting at square one–knowing nothing and nobody when you first step foot on campus–it’s really easy to chart your progress and development as time passes. As I finish my second year at Cornell, it’s cool to think about all the friendships I’ve forged, the progress in organizations I’ve made, and how I’ve made strides in “comfortability” around the Ithaca area.

The TCAT bus system is a prime example of this. (Think I’m nuts? Read on.)

So if you’ve made the trek to campus, it’s pretty much a certainty that you’ve seen those blue TCAT buses swarming around the Ithaca area. They’re basically impossible to miss, as their bright blue colors and large advertisements draw your eyes.

Yet, when I arrived at Cornell in Fall 2010, I remember being intimidated by the TCAT system. Sure, I might be pathetic, but let me explain. I hadn’t familiarized myself with the routes, and when you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere without your support system as a freshman, you don’t want to get on a bus and not know where you’re going. I also didn’t realize we had free rides our first year, and thought we needed a special card to board. Plus, the myriad of route numbers confused me, and I never wanted to hold up the bus by asking the driver where he was headed. All of this combined, let’s just say I lived a sedentary life on North Campus freshman year and chose to walk to class most of the time.


Fast forward to today, where I’m a TCAT whiz. As I work at the Daily Sun’s business office in downtown Ithaca, I rely on the 10 and the 30–which you can pick up at Sage, Anabel Taylor, or C-Town–to take me to the Seneca Street station. I’ve learned other routes, too. Wanna go to Chipotle on the weekend? Take the 30 to the Commons, then hop on the 15 Southside Shopper (but be careful, as it only comes hourly!). Need to navigate campus? The 81, 82, and 83 are your best bet during the day, while the 90, 92, and 93 will work at night. Be careful of the 36 and 37, which might take you to Lansing.

See, people? This is progress! Come to Cornell and you, too, can memorize TCAT routes! (See here to get started.)

Plus, another pro-tip: TCAT drivers are the nicest to pedestrians and usually let you cross the street…which can’t be said about many crazy drivers.

2 thoughts on “Mastering the TCAT

  1. Mary C.

    I’m glad you’ve finally figured out the TCAT system! As an Ithaca native, I’ve seen more Cornell kids who couldn’t figure out the bus that I can even count. While I do feel for you guys, I also think it gets a little ridiculous after the first few weeks of classes. There are route maps and schedules in the buses and bus shelters, a quick Google search would bring up the TCAT site, and most buses have at least two big signs on the outside that list where the bus is going. To put it in perspective, I went to college in NYC and after a few weeks I could navigate most places on my own.

  2. Pingback: General Thoughts From a Cornellian Living in Manhattan | Candid at Cornell

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