TCAT has shared the sad news that general manager Joseph J. Turcotte died on Monday, May 2nd, “after a long and courageous battle with cancer.” He had taken over the Ithaca-based regional transit service in 2005.
In a statement, TCAT acting general manager Alice Eccleston said, “Throughout his struggle, Joe always thought about TCAT and was concerned for the well-being of all employees and the community TCAT serves.”
“He was a caring, gentle man who demonstrated a passion for transit every day since joining TCAT as its leader on March 1, 2005,” she added.
Frank Proto, a longtime TCAT board member as well as a former county representative, said, “Joe’s understanding of transit services will be hard to replace. He always put the needs of the passengers and his entire staff first when entering any tough negotiation regarding TCAT. I will miss him as an associate and good friend.”
Under Turcotte’s leadership, TCAT was named in 2011 as the best transit agency of its size in North America by the Washington, D.C.-based American Public Transportation Association. Over his tenure, ridership grew from more than 3 million to more than 4 million annual trips.
TCAT, or Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit, is a non-profit corporation established as a joint effort by Cornell University, Tompkins County, and the City of Ithaca to provide public transportation for Tompkins County. Annual ridership on the fleet of about fifty buses, including eight hybrid electric-diesel buses, is now nearly 4.3 million, covering a distance of 1.6 million miles.
Eccleston, who worked with Turcotte for a decade as assistant general manager and human resources manager, added that he was a devoted family man who deeply treasured his loved ones. “Our hearts and deepest sympathy go out to Joe’s family and may they take comfort in their memories of him during this difficult time.”