Tompkins bus service adds options

TCAT is pleased to announce that Tompkins County residents and visitors have more travel options to enjoy hiking, swimming and a host of other healthy outdoor activities in the area’s beautiful parks.TCAT has expanded its Route 22 summer service to travel to more destinations seven days a week, instead of weekdays only. The expanded route will now travel to Lower Buttermilk Falls State Park and Lower Robert H.Treman State Park to the southwest of the county. The new service is in addition to the service it has been offering to Stewart Park, Cass Park, Cayuga Nature Center and Taughannock Falls State Park to the county’s northwest.Sat.‑Sun. service begins Sat., June 7, and Mon.-Fri. service begins Mon., June 23.The Route 22 expansion comes after many years of requests from the local community to provide the additional service. Through planning, analyzing timetables and working closely with TCAT’s operations team, TCAT’s service development department found a way to expand the route to provide transportation to local parks on both sides of the county every day of the week. The route was originally created more than two decades ago, but until this year only operated weekdays. While the former route was convenient for weekday summer camps at Stewart, Cass and Taughannock parks as well as the Cayuga Nature Center, it left two of the three major area state parks completely unserved and was of little use to residents working a standard workweek or visitors making a weekend getaway to Ithaca. “We believe there has been a long unmet need for many others, including many urban dwellers, many of whom have no way of traveling to enjoy their own county public parks that surround the city,” said Doug Swarts, TCAT’s service development manager. “In addition, having weekend service only makes sense because that is when most people have leisure time to get out to enjoy nature. Outdoor recreation is such a major quality-of-life factor for folks who call Ithaca home, and it’s a shame that lacking personal transportation options should pose a barrier for any resident hoping to enjoy the area’s hiking trails, waterfalls, and swimming facilities. That’s why we’re so excited to be able to offer a low-cost way for all citizens to enjoy the incredible natural beauty of Tompkins County.”Swarts added: ” While Ithaca touts itself as a “Gorges” destination to visitors, many travelers arrive here surprised to learn that they need to hold onto their personal vehicle – or rent one – if they want to reach those gorges. We believe the expanded Route 22 will be a plus for the local tourist industry because visitors can now simply hop on a bus – 7 days per week – and just leave all the worries about directions, parking, and fees behind.”Swarts and his team consulted with Fred Bonn, Finger Lakes Regional Parks director, as well as other local parks managers for their feedback while planning the expanded service.”This new and expanded service that TCAT is offering is great news,” Bonn said. “This new service means that more county residents and tourists will be able to take advantage of all the hiking, picnicking and swimming that our local State Park system has to offer. The Route 22 runs through Sat., Aug. 23.The Route 22 schedule can be found at www.tcatbus.com or in the TCAT Schedules @ Service Guide: Summer 2014 located online or available at key shelters and outlets, or by calling (607) 277‑RIDE (7433).

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