gadabout_lansing120Can you name a dozen ways for Lansingites to travel around Tompkins County not including a car?  Lansing's Tompkins County Legislator Pat Pryor wants town residents to know that there are more choices than they may think.  Pryor is helping to get the word out about options like TCAT and Gadabout that most people know about, and programs with names like FISH, RED, and Zimride that may not be as well known.

"Even though we live out in the country we still have some ways to get around other than driving our cars as the first option," Pryor says.  "There are a lot of people today who are concerned about the cost of driving, the increase in the price of gas.  There are people who would like to get out of their cars and walk to work or ride their bicycles for exercise."

Cornell Cooperative Extension maintains a transportation Web site called Way2Go, which maintains a comprehensive list of transportation modes and encourages riders to explore different options.  It includes helpful tips including a top 10 list of ways to save money while driving, and fun facts: 15% of all drivers are seniors 60 and older, and currently 28 million drivers 65 and older.

Last month Pryor gave Town Board members a handout listing transportation services, information resources, and support services available in Lansing and Tompkins County.  Her list is posted on the Town Web site.  While TCAT (Tompkins County Area transit) has limited bus service in the town, she says riders can cob together different ways to get from point A to point B.

"One of the things we know about the people who ride the bus from South Lansing is that they ride part way, then get a ride the rest of the way home," she says.  "We have people who ride that bus during good weather, and they put their bicycle on the bus.  All of our TCAT busses are equipped with bicycle racks.  They hop off the bus, take their bike, and ride to wherever they're going."

While many busses go to the Ithaca Mall, three other routes include Lansing destinations.  One bus comes to South Lansing, stopping in the ball field parking lot near the Lansing Town Hall.  Another goes to North Lansing, as far as the North Lansing Fire Station.  A third route reaches almost as far as Asbury Road along Warren Road.

"If you work at the Cornell campus, for example, you can connect with other people on the Zimride Web site who are going to a similar place on campus," Pryor says.  "You can carpool or vanpool to get to campus.  What I think is really interesting about these services is that they're not all geared to elderly or handicapped people.  Anybody can use them.  However for people who are seniors or people who have disabilities we do have two paratransportation services in Tompkins County."

Elders and disabled riders may choose the Lansing Older Adult Program (LOAP) van or Gadabout.  The LOAP van is owned by the Town of Lansing, but operated by volunteers.  It runs by reservation, as does the County's Gadabout.  The little yellow busses are for those over 60 or for disabled riders.

Lesser known services include Angel Flight Northeast for people needing life-saving medical care, and Angel FLights for Veterans and Children's Angel Flight, which flies people to hospitals in distant places like New York City.  Volunteers fly financially needy veterans and children in private aircraft.  The American Cancer Society Road To Recovery, Medicaid Transportation, and FISH (Friends In Service Helping) provide local transportation for patients, and of course Bangs Ambulence handles emergencies in the Town and the COunty.

Pryor says that the perception that alternative transportation in Lansing is mainly geared at the elderly or disabled is not true.  Airport Limosine service and taxis are available in Tompkins County, as well as inter-city and regional bus service, and Ithaca Carshare whose members share access to vehicles.

Additionally the Catholic Charities help those in need with car repairs, and the Tompkins County Sheriff's office provides child seats for cars.  Pryor notes that information about local travel is available by calling 211 Information & Referral service, and trip planning is provided by the Tompkins County Department of Social Service's Mobility Program.

Pryor says that most alternative transportation services are run by volunteers and funded by grants.