Transportation Options through SDS
Transportation assistance is available through Student Disability Services (SDS) if you have a temporary or permanent mobility-affecting disability.
The accommodations available include:
- free bus passes
- the approval to purchase an accessible parking permit for campus
- the use of CULift (the Cornell paratransit service that provides pre-scheduled rides to on-campus classes, appointments, and extra-curricular activities).
Bus passes provide enough flexibility for getting around campus for many people. SDS can provide short- or long-term passes at no charge if you are approved for this accommodation. If the needed accommodation period is two months or less, monthly TCAT bus passes may be provided. If an OmniRide pass for TCAT is granted (generally when the accommodation period is longer than two months), SDS will arrange for OmniRide activation on your Cornell ID card for use on TCAT buses. These passes would allow you take TCAT buses anywhere on campus, as well as throughout the Ithaca area, seven days a week.
Please note: Cornell University provides all first year students (including transfer students) a free bus pass their first year on campus.
If you live off campus and have a car, accessible parking may be an appropriate option.
If you are approved for accessible parking, SDS will provide you a letter to take to Commuter & Parking Services at 116 Maple Avenue to purchase an accessible permit for campus. Campus parking passes can only be purchased for a vehicle that belongs to you or an immediate family member.
Please note that all students must pay for a parking permit, including an Accessible Parking permit (AP Permit). AP permits are sold at an equivalent cost to other central campus parking permits. Additional information on accessible parking on the Cornell campus can be found at the Commuter & Parking Services website.
SDS cannot approve accessible parking for more than two months unless you have a municipality-issued accessible parking hangtag or license plate.
The CULift is an on-campus, pre-arranged transportation service for students with mobility disabilities, whether permanent or temporary. The CULift is provided free of cost.
If approved for use of the CULift, service will begin 1-2 days after your registration meeting (if rides are needed for the next day, the registration meeting should take place before 10:00am).
The CULift runs on campus, to nearby housing, and to peripheral parking lots. You can check with SDS to see if your off campus housing is in the CULift service area, or view the CULift Service Area Map.
It operates from 7:45am to 10:00pm, Monday through Friday during the fall and spring semesters. No on-call service is available. Due to the large volume of use, all ride requests must be made by 10:00am the business day before the ride.
For more information: Review the CULift Guidelines. To use the service, you must agree to abide by those guidelines.
Other Transportation Resources
TCAT is the Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit system that serves Ithaca and Tompkins County. Buses can kneel to make it easier to board and deboard. They are also wheelchair accessible. Information and schedules can be found at: tcatbus.com.
TCAT ADA Paratransit
If you live off campus or need to travel to off-campus locations (e.g., doctor or physical therapy) and are prevented from using fixed-route TCAT buses because of a disability, can sign up for TCAT's ADA Paratransit service.
TCAT's ADA Paratransit service is operated by Gadabout, and is a curb-to-curb, demand-responsive public transportation service. Approval and scheduling of rides is coordinated through TCAT. Call the ADA Paratransit coordinator at TCAT (607-277-9388, extension 450). Fees charged depend upon points of travel. More information is available on the TCAT ADA website.
Taxi and Ride Hail Services
Ithaca is also served by ride hail services (Lyft, Uber).
Big Red Shuttle
The Big Red Shuttle provides late night fixed-route service Friday and Saturday evenings for Cornell students, free of charge. See their website for schedule information.
FISH (Friends in Service Helping) is a Tompkins County non-profit providing free local medical and health care transport for county residents in need of assistance.
City of Ithaca Accessible Parking Permit Information
The City Clerk's Office, located at 108 East Green Street, issues New York State Parking Permits for People with Disabilities to City of Ithaca residents under the regulations of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. These permits are not valid on the Cornell Campus without an additional Cornell parking permit. If you reside outside the City of Ithaca (town of Ithaca, Dryden, etc.), will need to follow their municipality's process to obtain a license plate or hang tag.
To obtain New York State permits you must complete Part I of the permit application and have the appropriate doctor either complete Part II (the medical certification), or provide you with a note detailing the nature of your disability, and whether it is a temporary or permanent disability. If your disability is temporary, the doctor should also state how long you will need the permit.