Campus-to-Campus Bus

Cornell's C2C bus service is currently achieving 146 passenger-miles per gallon...


Campus-to-Campus Bus is a Neutrality goal in the Cornell Climate Action Plan (CAP).



Encourage mass transit between Ithaca and NYC through continued support for Campus to Campus Bus.

The Campus-to-Campus bus sports a new look. (Bill Fraser, Throughthelens Studio)
The Campus-to-Campus bus sports a new look. (Bill Fraser, Throughthelens Studio)

Goal: Provide express bus service between Cornell’s Ithaca and New York City campuses to reduce carbon emissions resulting from individual vehicle trips to and from the city.

The Campus to Campus (C2C) bus has been in operation since 2004, providing the Ithaca Campus and surrounding communities with express service to New York City. The C2C bus service operates seven days a week, year round except on Thanksgiving and during the University’s Winter Break. The coaches offer single and double seating for up to 32 passengers, with ample work room, internet service, and a well-stocked galley. The C2C service is currently achieving 146 passenger-miles per gallon, and highway speed is monitored to increase fuel efficiency.

When U.S. Air discontinued its LaGuardia service three years ago, the C2C bus load factor (how full the bus is) increased from 72% to 74% - resulting in a 2.8% increase in overall ridership since 2010. Annual ridership in 2014 was 24,986 passengers. This is an increase of 4/8% in annual ridership since 2012. The bus load factor has increased to 78%. The C2C program is profitable and is currently supporting deficit’s in Cornell’s OmniRide program.

C2C’s six buses are owned by Cornell and maintained, serviced, and driven by Cornell employees, as part of the university’s Transportation Services. In October 2013, Cornell made the decision to hire its own drivers and insource C2C operations completely. Seven new bus operators and a program manager were recently added to the C2C team.

A new, more fuel-efficient bus was added to the fleet in November 2013. The new bus will have lower particulate emissions and should increase overall fuel efficiency from 5.8 mpg to 6.4 mpg. In addition the new bus will be equipped with a reverse osmosis water system, eliminating the need to provide bottled water.

Another C2C bus has been purchased with the idea of expanding the service. All buses are equipped with recycling bins, and biodegradable bags are available at all seats.

University administrators are currently considering a possible partnership with the Finger Lakes Climate Fund to offer Cornell business travelers the option to offset their travel emissions by making donations to the Fund. Passengers could use the Fund’s carbon calculator to determine the amount of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from their trip, and choose to make a donation to offset these emissions via investing in residential energy efficiency projects for qualified local residents.

Next Steps

  • Study the financial implications of C2C expansion to serve Washington D.C. or Boston, and the possibility of using this new revenue stream to support the OmniRide program or other transportation initiatives.
  • Evaluate carbon offset options, secure approval from University administrators, and once consensus is reached, implement changes to C2C reservations programming to allow for passenger donations to be accepted and processed.

Resources

  • Evaluate the return on investment for additional C2C runs.
  • Secure approval for the travel offset program and create internal processes to manage passenger donations.
For more information on the C2C bus, visit the Campus-to-Campus Bus webpage.