Taking the Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit from Ithaca College down to The Commons has become a college ritual, with many students’ flooding the buses on Friday and Saturday nights.
But this large influx of students has also led to unruly behavior toward TCAT drivers on the buses, prompting preventive initiatives from the college. While these initiatives have helped control this rowdiness, responsibility lies heaviest on students to behave more courteously toward TCAT drivers.
The TCAT does not exist solely for the college — it is not a private transportation system meant to serve only its needs. Students must remember that the TCAT exists as public transportation for the entire Ithaca community, and students must, therefore, be respectful of other bus riders. Furthermore, transportation on the TCAT is one of the ways members of the community interact with the college’s students. Acting rudely and disorderly on a bus that may also be transporting Ithaca residents paints the entire college in a bad light.
Students must also be aware of the privilege they are afforded by the double-bussing services on the weekends. The fact that TCAT felt it was necessary to run two buses on Route 11 primarily for this college is a testament to students’ inability to act orderly and nondisruptive in a crowd.
The behavior displayed toward TCAT drivers and to community members who are subjected to it is embarrassing and disrespectful. This loud and sometimes violent, drunken behavior reflects poorly not just on the college, but on these students as individuals. The drivers are not private chauffeurs, and they serve the entire community.
Of course, another catalyst of this unruly behavior is the presence of alcohol. This is not to say that students should stop drinking but that as adults they should be able to control their behavior and act respectfully on public transportation. Drunkenness is not a valid excuse for obscene rudeness or disrespect.
This continued disrespect and disorderliness is unacceptable. TCAT drivers deserve respect from those who benefit from their services instead of the maltreatment they have been receiving from students. Students must be cognizant of their behavior and realize that public transportation to bars downtown on a night out is not a right but a privilege.