January 29, 2013

Rural residents can call for transportation service


---- — PLATTSBURGH — Residents of rural Clinton County looking for public transportation can now call for a lift from from any location in the county.

Clinton County Public Transit is offering its Dial-a-Ride service for county residents, including free transportation for people 60 and over.


“A demand-response service can be a benefit to anyone in the county,” Clinton County Public Transit Manager James Bosley said of the service that allows residents to call dispatchers to arrange a ride.

“In the past, this has been called the ‘senior bus,’” he added. “We used to go out to different senior-housing facilities to provide public transportation.

“Now, we offer a Dial-a-Ride service to anyone.”

Since many rural residents who would find the service beneficial are seniors, Public Transit has teamed with the Office for the Aging to provide the shuttle free to those 60 and older.

“A lot of residents don’t necessarily live along a regular bus route,” Bosley said of the regular service. “If they want to come into town for a doctor’s appointment or to shop, they can make plans to do it on the day Dial-a-Ride is available in their community.”


Public Transit introduced Dial-A-Ride in 2012, but the service was available on alternating weeks only. So, residents of Champlain, Rouses Point and Chazy, for example, could access the service on Mondays but only twice a month during designated weeks.

This year, the service is available each day of the week, with designated access available once a week. For instance, residents from Champlain, Rouses Point and Chazy can call for a ride on Tuesdays, and Dannemora and Saranac residents can call on Thursdays.

Customers must call the county dispatch number (561-1452) at least one day before needed.

The one-way fare for transportation is $10, but seniors 60 and older with proof of age can ride free.


Another adjustment for 2013 is county-wide coverage. In 2012, Plattsburgh, Schuyler Falls and Beekmantown were not included in the Dial-A-Ride coverage.

This year, those communities can access the service on Mondays, while Mooers, Altona, Clinton and Ellenburg are now combined to provide service on Wednesdays.


The county uses a wheelchair-access van for its Dial-a-Ride program.

“If you live in a rural part of the county and use a wheelchair, there are not a lot of options,” Bosley said. “Now, if you know that the service is available one day a week in your community, then you can make plans for that day.”


The bus typically picks up passengers in the morning and then returns passengers to their homes in the afternoon. Times can be flexible to meet the needs of individual riders.

“We can offer a call-back option for people to call when their appointment is done,” Bosley said.

In 2012, Dial-a-Ride served 208 passengers during the year, but Bosley said he believes the service may become more popular with this year’s expansion and with stronger marketing efforts.

“It’s really a nice service to offer our rural residents. I think it could be very popular.”

Email Jeff Meyers: