TICONDEROGA The CHAMP bus is going to be a more frequent site between Ticonderoga and Elizabethtown. As of Aug. 20, a mid-day bus route between Elizabethtown and Ticonderoga has been added.
As a first step in making coordination a reality in Essex County, we are adding a mid-day route to our public transportation service, said Essex County Transportation Coordinator Nancy Dougal.
Dougal said that during the countys transportation analysis, it was discovered many people came from southern Essex County to utilize a variety of services, including dialysis and other medical services at Elizabethtown Community Hospital, One Work Source, and access the county facilities.
However, the long time between trips served as a deterrent for use.
A lot of the reasons we didn't have the riders was only the people going to work were willing to ride otherwise you're here for 9-5, said Dougal.
County officials hope that adding the mid-day bus route will encourage more bus usage. Having the bus running more frequently will also help county agencies like the Office for the Aging and Department of Social Services, which send out vehicles to provide transportation. The bus option will help avoid the duplication of services.
The additional mid-day run will allow the public to travel between Elizabethtown and Ticonderoga between 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. Passengers who are interested in a trip will have the option to choose the scheduled run time that fits their needs.
The bus makes stops in Elizabethtown, Westport, Port Henry, Crown Point and Ticonderoga. Bus fare is 50 cents boarding fee, with 75 cents for each scheduled stop.
The commuter run operates an early morning service leaving Elizabethtown at 6:10 a.m. The bus then departs Ticonderoga at 7:10 a.m. for the return trip to arrive in Elizabethtown at 8:45 a.m.
The return commuter run to Ticonderoga leaves Elizabethtown at 5 p.m. arriving in Ticonderoga at 6:32 p.m. and returns to Elizabethtown at 7:30 p.m.
The county currently operates four buses, which seat 18 people.
The more we work on coordination, the more funding we'll get from outside the county state and federal so it doesn't impact the taxpayers, said Dougal.
All Essex County Public Transportation buses are wheelchair accessible. The bus has scheduled stops and offers a flag the driver option to passengers to be picked up along the scheduled route where safe to stop.
Transportation in Essex County is a long-standing issue; the county is the second largest in the state in land mass. The countys evaluation also suggested that a Willsboro/Essex to Elizabethtown route is worth investigation.
We're working on trying to help people move around the county, other than having a personal vehicle. It's getting expensive to have a car and to put gas in it, said Dougal.
At this time Essex County is accepting applications for part-time drivers. A successful candidate for the positions must have a valid CDL license to operate an 18 passenger bus with passenger endorsement. Information about the additional service, schedules, fares and the driver positions can be obtained by calling the Essex County Planning Office at 873-3685.
In Keene, Supervisor William Ferebee is investigating the possibility of establishing a weekly trip to Lake Placid. Ferebee said the request had been made by NYS Department of Transportation Intermodal Transportation Specialist Michael LaBello, and the town was investigating since the towns bus had been purchased with federal funds.
The town currently offers a weekend summer shuttle for hikers, traveling from Marcy Field to the trailhead of Mount Marcy. Ferebee said the summer shuttle was well-utilized, with fares covering operation cost.
Ferebee remained skeptical of the bus being used by residents for a Lake Placid route, stating that while the route was not a bad idea, he doubted that there would be enough interest.
The trip, which would take place during a weekday, might start this autumn, or by Memorial Day next year. Ferebee would appreciate calls of interest to the town hall at 576-4555 to help with planning.