PLATTSBURGH — Effective Jan. 1, Clinton County Public Transit bus fares will be increased and routes will be changed.
This comes after the Clinton County Legislature approved resolutions regarding the changes at its monthly meeting Nov. 27.
The fare changes include doubling of all fare and pass prices except for the rural fare, which saw a $1 increase, and the student pass, which went from $20 to $30.
MIGHT NOT PREVENT FUTURE CUTS
The blue token, senior deviation charge and commuter pass prices all remained the same.
“I have explained that fares are only about 10 percent of our system revenue and therefore an increase in fares might not prevent future cuts, but any increase in revenue does help,” James Bosley, planning
technician at Clinton County Planning Office, said.
“There are riders who think the fares we have now are too high, but I have been surprised by how many riders have suggested raising the fares.”
BRING IN $68K
The planning office estimates that the fare increases will bring in an additional $68,000 in 2020.
Still, Bosley knows there will likely be some pushback.
“I think when the change is implemented we will hear from more people who do not like having to pay more for the service, but if raising the fares does raise revenues enough to prevent further service cuts, then that will be a positive,” Bosley said.
Robert Poulin, executive director at the North Country Center for Independence, a group that assists people with disabilities, said that the group is concerned about the fare increase, but that they haven’t heard any complaints yet.
“We would always be concerned about that, because people are very much on a fixed income,” Poulin said.
“I don’t think the increase was unreasonable, but everyone’s going to look at that a little differently based on how it hits them in the pocketbook.”
‘PEOPLE RELY ON IT’
Legislators Patty Waldron (D-Area 6, Saranac) and Francis Peryea (R-Area 2, Altona) were the only two of the 10 legislators who voted no on the resolution.
“I wear two hats; I own the Koffee Kat (in downtown Plattsburgh) and I see plenty of individuals who need that transportation, and who can’t afford other transportation,” Waldron said. “When people rely on it once, twice or three times a day, it adds up. I see both sides of this. Hopefully in the future we can find ways to create transportation that doesn’t cost so much for fuel.”
She mentioned possibly looking into a collaboration with Nova Bus to get electric buses into the fleet as a way the county could drive fuel costs down.
The resolution pertaining to route changes was passed unanimously by the legislature.
“These changes do include a reduction of service on Saturdays, but, for the most part, these changes are a reworking of our routes in Plattsburgh to try to better serve our riders rather than cuts to reduce operating expenses,” Bosley said.
“I anticipate CCPT riders will be in favor of these service changes overall.”
ROUTE CHANGES ‘IMPROVEMENT’
Among them is restructuring of the West End Route so it will begin at the County Government Center on Margaret Street, adding a regularly scheduled stop at Beekman Towers and moving the Morrisonville Behavioral Health Services North stop to the “rural” Clayburg and Lyon Mountain routes.
“The route changes I think are an improvement, in general,” Poulin said.
“It seems like it will probably serve more people and give more opportunity for people to use different routes.”
Poulin added that he was sure some people will be inconvenienced by the BHSN change, but that, based on use of the stop in the current routes, BHSN did not seem overly worried.
Aside from the changes, Poulin did also add that snow removal at bus stops is an issue that frequently comes up around this time of year.
Whether it be from lack of removal or people shovelling their sidewalks into piles by bus stops, Poulin said that many of his wheelchair-using clients report having difficulties getting on the buses during the winter.
“The legislature feels like there’s nothing they can do about it, but I think they can,” Poulin said.
“At least ensure that the full-time stops be cleared off.”
A full list of the route changes can be found at www.clin
Email Ben Watson: