Press-Republican

May 3, 2014

Loss of bus service would affect many

By JOE LoTEMPLIO
Press-Republican

---- — PLATTSBURGH — Eli-mination of the Clinton County Public Transportation bus service would have a major impact on hundreds of people.

One of them is Heidi VanValkenburg of AuSable Forks.

“That would be really bad if they cut this out,” VanValkenburg said while waiting in Plattsburgh for a bus home recently.

“I use this bus just about every day, and if I didn’t have it, I would have no way to get here for appointments and all the other things I need to do.”

VanValkenburg, 27, said she does not drive because of a medical condition, and she uses the bus to take her to doctor’s appointments or therapy sessions in Plattsburgh frequently.

She also uses it to shop and for other business she has in the city, which is about a 30-to-40-minute ride from her home.

“It usually costs me less than $5 per day to get to Plattsburgh and back, which is not a bad deal at all,” she said.

“It’s a lot better than paying a car payment, insurance payment, car repairs and gas, especially now that gas has gone way up again.”

VanValkenburg said she has many friends who live near her that rely on the bus to get to work in Plattsburgh each day.

“Think of the people that will lose their jobs if they don’t have the bus,” she said.

Clinton County Deputy Administrator Rodney Brown said the county estimates that about 1,500 people use the bus system on a regular basis, totaling nearly 200,000 trips per year.

Fares for runs within the city are $1 each way and $2 each way for rural routes. Paratransit trips, by appointment, are $3.50 each way.

John Barber, 49, of Keeseville takes the bus quite frequently.

“There are so many people in Keeseville and AuSable that use it,” he said. “It would really hurt them if they didn’t have these buses.”

Barber said he could live with cutting service to just three days a week if that would save money.

“Anything, just don’t get rid of it,” he said.

VanValkenburg said she has been a regular rider for nearly four years now.

“I love taking the bus. I get to talk to different people, and the drivers are the best,” she said.

“They just make my day.”

Email Joe LoTemplio:jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com