Tompkins County
New York

Report or Discussion Item

Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit (TCAT) Report



Meeting History

Jan 4, 2018 3:00 PM  Planning, Development, and Environmental Quality Committee Regular Meeting

Mr. Vanderpool reviewed the current situation for Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit (TCAT) and understands there is a demand for additional transportation in the community. He provided a copy of the Conceptual TCAT Facility Masterplan Options - Supporting Narratives. Mr. Vanderpool explained how currently there is a search for potential sites being conducted and the cost of a facility can range between $26 and $50 million. Mr. Vanderpool provided a photograph of the current garage area depicting a very crowded facility of buses and how the current facility is not adequate enough. Mr. Yarrow explained TCAT has been working with Cornell University to develop a one page summary to use when asking for funding from lawmakers.

Mr. McKenna stated this was discussed at the last Transportation Committee meeting and the need to have all the players involved to discuss the need to address transportation issues.

Following an inquiry by Ms. Dawson, Mr. Vanderpool stated the majority of the funding will need to come from Federal grants and stated this is still in the early stages of planning.

Mr. Vanderpool and Mr. Yarrow provided copies of the TCAT New Facility - Site Search Map and discussed possible relocation sites.

Ms. Dawson stated the Airport area is a distance from the City but there may be economies of scale in terms of services that could be shared with the County. She also spoke of gaining funds from NYSEG regarding the installation of alternative energy regarding the non-pipe alternatives. She also spoke of expanded service to some of the outer areas in the future, which may make the location not so far from the “central area.” Mr. Yarrow stated he will be looking into expanded service to Lansing as it has experienced expanded growth.

Mr. Granison asked if the Department of Public Works (DPW) leaves the current area would there be enough room for TCAT to expand its current location. Mr. Yarrow explained that TCAT is at the beginning of this process but there is a significant amount of space needed. Mr. Wood stated the current TCAT facility is approximately two of ten acres on a parcel within the City of Ithaca and the other eight acres is used for DPW. The City is interested in moving TCAT and DPW to another area and explained that the location is a key area for development, housing, or private development.

Ms. Borgella suggested looking into the area near the County Maintenance Facility on Bostwick Road and possibly talking with the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) bus garage representative. She stated there may be some services that could be shared. She said ICSD was interested at some point in sharing services with the County Highway Department but is unsure where that stands. Mr. Yarrow was not certain if that would fit TCAT's need but will look into it.

Ms. Robertson is interested in seeing TCAT thrive and grow and understands the difficult position they are in at this time with identifying the cost without knowing the parcel. She urged Mr. Vanderpool and Mr. Yarrow to establish a work group that includes people beyond staff and Board members and engage the three partners to work on this project.

Mr. Granison suggested contacting Congressman Tom Reed or other Federal-level Representatives. Mr. Vanderpool stated he is working on a package of information to present to a Congressional Office such as Congressman Reed’s.

Mr. Vanderpool and Mr. Yarrow distributed TCAT Park and Rides that depicted current and potential Park and Rides county-wide. Mr. Yarrow is concerned about the sites that are located further away and the potential for additional problems.

Mr. Yarrow stated the rural Park and Ride service is primarily used by commuters with office hours during commuter service hours. He said most of the Park and Ride locations are small and informal but are looking at making those agreements more concrete.

Mr. Granison asked if the informal areas depicted on the map were going to be formalized in any manner. Mr. Yarrow stated the informal locations seem to be functioning well but there could be some enhancements made that may capture the attention of new users.

Mr. Gransion inquired if there was any data regarding the use of specific Park and Rides. Mr. Yarrow stated the TCAT system collects ridership data and said if the locations are improved there may be an increase in riders from those areas.

Ms. Robertson spoke of the traffic on Route 13 from Dryden and suggested improved locations coming from that area.

Mr. Yarrow spoke of the need for additional promotion of Park and Rides with the filling of vacant positions in the near future.

` Mr. Vanderpool believes 2018 will be a better year for TCAT and improve their service.