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Cornell University

Bus Services, Privileges, Passes

TCAT has transitioned to a new next-generation fare collection system. Ride privileges will be accessed using the magnetic stripe on the Cornell ID card (black stripe facing the rider). Check out TCAT's handy instructions.

Try Public Transit

Convenient, efficient, and economical, transit is a perfect option for making the most of your precious time.

TCAT serves all of Tompkins County, including Cornell and the City of Ithaca. Call TCAT at 277-RIDE (Monday – Friday, 7:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m.) or visit their website for route, fare, schedule, and park-and-ride lot locations. TCAT Tcard bus passes are sold for various ride-denominations and are available at the Cornell Store.

Getting Started

Employees and students can access their bus riding privileges with their CU photo ID card on TCAT buses. Every time you board a TCAT bus with your CU ID card, swipe your card in the magstripe reader (mag stripe down, facing either way).

Employee Unlimited Ride CU ID Card Privileges

  • Employees (including temporary employees and affiliates) and retirees can swipe their CU photo ID card at the farebox when boarding TCAT buses to ride anywhere TCAT goes, any time TCAT runs—Cornell pays the fare (normally $1.50). This unlimited ride privilege allows employees more flexibility in planning their commute and can help reduce the number of vehicles on campus.
  • Faculty/staff spouse/partners with a CU ID card receive unlimited rides on TCAT night routes 90, 92, and 93.

Student CU ID Card Privileges

  • All registered students enrolled in a degree program receive free, unlimited rides on all TCAT buses after 6 p.m. on weekdays, and anytime Saturday and Sunday.
  • New-to-Cornell students automatically receive OmniRide privileges for unlimited TCAT privileges in their first year as a matriculated student in a degree program. Privileges expire annually on August 31 for Fall entrants and December 31 for Spring entrants.
  • Students not New-to-Cornell can purchase OmniRide privileges at Passes expire annually on August 31.
  • Continuing education students and student spouse/partners with a CU ID card receive unlimited rides on TCAT night routes 90, 92, and 93.

Regional Public Transit

Riders can pay as they go, and eligible employees can join Cornell's OmniRide commuter program to receive a discounted annual pass.


  • Bus access using the CU ID card, including night/weekend and OmniRide, is paid for by Cornell University and is non-transferable.
  • The CU photo ID card is the fare medium and must be swiped at the farebox—and read electronically—in order to ride at no cost.
  • Transit riders should be prepared to use cash in the event their CU ID card is not accepted at the TCAT fare box.
    • If your card isn’t accepted because you are outside the boundaries or riding at a time when your card isn’t valid, the driver will inform you that you need to pay ($1.50).
    • If your CU ID is bent or damaged it may not read properly. You will have to replace your card to access rider privileges in the future.
    • If you are unsure why your CU photo ID card isn’t working properly, contact our office at 607-255-4600.
  • Report lost or stolen cards to the University Registrar at 607-255-4232. Replacement cards are available from their office; a fee may be charged.
  • The CU photo ID card is the property of the university and cannot be shared with another person for any reason.