Press-Republican

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May 3, 2014

Clinton County bus system sustains shortfall

PLATTSBURGH — The Clinton County Public Transportation system lost money in 2013, prompting county officials to evaluate their options.

“It’s the first time in about a decade that we had a shortfall,” Clinton County Deputy Administrator Rodney Brown said.

TRIAD OF FUNDING

The system, which provides bus service throughout the county, wound up with a deficit of about $33,000 for 2013.

The shortfall is attributed to less state money to support the system and fewer riders.

The CCPT budget is about $1.3 million per year, and it is funded by state, federal and local money.

The state provides 69 cents per mile that each bus travels, and the federal government gives 40.5 cents per passenger.

The local revenue comes from passenger fares, which are $1 for every run within the City of Plattsburgh, $2 for each rural run and $3.50 for para-transit trips for those with disabilities.

All fares are for one-way trips.

“If you live in the city and want to go somewhere else in the city, it’s a dollar one way and then a dollar back,” Brown said. “Not a bad deal.”

COLLEGE CONTRACTS

The state funding amounts to about 50 percent of the system’s revenue, the federal funds equal about 12 percent, and local revenue makes up the rest.

Local revenue includes contracts with SUNY Plattsburgh and Clinton Community College for dedicated runs and for advertising on the sides of the buses.

The system includes 16 buses that are operated by First Transit through a contract with the county.

The county maintains the transportation hub on Arizona Avenue on the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base.

FEWER RIDERS

Brown said ridership in 2013 was down about 30,000 trips from 210,000 passengers in 2012.

A reason for the drop, he said, was that the state, which orders para-transit trips for Medicaid riders, used other providers more than it normally does.

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