Getting to and from work can be challenging if you don’t drive. Even if you do drive, the cost and carbon footprint that comes with commuting by car might make you want to consider some other options. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to get to work, and lots of useful resources out there to help you navigate them!
One way many teens get to work is by getting rides from family members or friends, or carpooling with co-workers. This is a great option if it’s available to you, but it shouldn’t be your only option. It’s good to have a backup plan just in case your usual ride isn’t available. Having other transportation options will give you more flexibility to deal with scheduling changes at work, and it’ll also help you gain independence and build problem-solving skills.
Let’s discuss 3 common ways teens in Tompkins County get to work: taking the TCAT, biking, and walking.
Taking the TCAT
Riding the TCAT is a great affordable and environmentally-friendly way to get to work.
To figure out if the TCAT would be a good option for your commuting needs, you’ll first need to take a look at what routes are available. You can find this information in the TCAT ride guide. You can also use TCAT’s bus tracker, the Ithaca Transit app, and your phone’s maps app to find routes and schedules.
Youth under 17, and older teens who are still enrolled in high school, can now ride the TCAT for FREE! Learn more about the FreeRyde program here.
Unfortunately, the TCAT isn’t a perfect solution for everyone. If you don’t live near a bus stop or the timing just doesn’t work with your schedule, you might need to look into other options.
Biking to work
Riding your bike is a good way to commute and exercise at the same time. Of course, first you’ll need a bike that’s in good working order and a helmet that fits well (seriously, don’t skip the helmet). Biking isn’t for everyone, but if you have a bike, feel comfortable on it, and the weather conditions allow for safe riding, it’s a great option!
Biking to work will require some planning ahead. In addition to equipment, you’ll need to plan your route, and it's a good idea to test it out in advance. Look for the safest, most bike-friendly roads or trails you can find.
Biking is also a great option to combine with taking the bus if you want to ride the TCAT but can’t walk to the nearest stop. Learn more about TCAT bike racks and associated rules.
Plus, check out these planning and safety tips for new bike commuters:
And to learn about sharing the road, check out this video:
Walking to work
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Odds are, if you live very close to your job and already walk to work every day, you’re probably not reading this article. But if you live a further but still walkable distance from your workplace, walking can be a good occasional method of transportation. Many people who typically take the bus, for example, will walk to work every now and then if it’s nice out, if they have a little extra time that day, or just to save a buck or two on bus fare.
Even if walking isn’t your jam, it’s not a bad idea to take a look at your route to work and see if a walking commute is possible for you, just in case there’s ever a time when walking does become your best option.
These transportation methods might not work for everyone, but hopefully this gives you some ideas to help you meet your commuting needs. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with driving or getting a ride to work if that works for you! The important thing is that you’re aware of all your options in case you ever need or just want to try them.
Even if you can’t bus, bike, or walk to work, you can still take steps to ensure you have a backup plan. If you get rides from a family member, make a list of other people you could potentially get rides from in the event of car trouble, scheduling conflicts, or other problems.