PLATTSBURGH - Clinton County Public Transit is making changes and they're ones transportation system officials hope will benefit riders.
The changes, which will be effective Monday, March 1, are based on thousands of hours of research into how CCPT could improve its services, said planning technician Maggie Barie.
"This is something that's been in the making for about two years," said Barie. "We spoke with our drivers, with people in our dispatch office. We did rider surveys, we worked with the Clinton County Economic Collaborative and we spoke with local businesses. This process involved a lot of input from a lot of people."
As a result, several changes were made to routes and new routes were even established, said Barie.
"We think we fixed most of the concerns we received from the public," she said. "Most people are happy about the changes."
The changes are the first to the route system in 15 years, said Barie.
"It's been a long time coming," she said.
Changes to the North City route consist of completely eliminating stops at Oak Street Elementary, Montcalm Laundry and the corner of Bailey Avenue and Lafayette Street, while only eliminating stops at Beekman Towers and CVPH Medical Center during the second half of the run. Stops for that route to be added include Kinney Drugs on Boynton Avenue and Meadowbrook Healthcare on Prospect Street.
The North City route will also now stop at the Aldi supermarket on Cornelia Street and the Senior Citizens Council of Clinton County Senior Center on North Catherine Street.
"Which is a really big deal," said Barie, based on rider feedback.
The West City route will eliminate stops at the corner of Haley Drive and Cogan Avenue, Terrace Way, Sanborn Avenue, Beau's Way Apartments and the Plattsburgh YMCA. Stops to be added include medical plazas on DeGrandpre Way and Plaza Boulevard.
The South City route will eliminate stops at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, Sanborn Avenue, Park Avenue and Plattsburgh Middle School. The route's second-half runs to Lakeview and Barnard Apartments, and the Clinton Community College housing on the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base, will also be eliminated. Stops added include McSweeney's Red Hots location on State Route 9S, Family Dollar in the Skyway Shopping Center Plaza, and U.S. Oval.
The Transit Shuttle will be created to make stops at the Grand Isle ferry, Champlain Centre mall, Greyhound Bus Lines stop on Booth Drive, Plattsburgh International Airport and the Amtrak station on Dock Street. The shuttle will also handle stops handled previously by other routes such as CVPH Medical Center and the Clinton County Government Center,
The CCC/Shopper's Shuttle will be created to also make stops at the mall, Champlain Centre South, Wal-Mart, Plattsburgh Plaza and SUNY Plattsburgh's Angell College Center. That route will also handle stops at the mall and the government center, as well as Clinton Community College and its housing formerly handled by the South City route.
The North City, South City, West City, and new CCC/Shopper's Shuttle routes will also run every hour, on the hour, weekdays beginning at their designated start times.
"That way, it's easier for people to know when it's coming," said Barie.
Other changes include shifting back stop times and adding additional runs for certain routes to accommodate requests from passengers getting to and from work, said Barie.
"That includes shifting our Churubusco route five minutes earlier to accommodate teachers who use it to go to work at [Northern Adirondack Central]," she said. "We've also shifted our Peru route so commuters from Peru can come into the city by 8 o'clock."
The Wallace Hill route has also been altered to accommodate stops on Banker Road at NovaBus, UPS and the Plattsburgh Town Offices. The Saturday Shuttle will also now make stops to locations including North Bowl Lanes and Cumberland 12 Cinemas, adding more for passengers looking for access to weekend entertainment
"It was just shifting the routes and stops around in order to go to more places and be more efficient. We're getting to more of the major places where people need to go," said Barie.
The changes also include syncing up with Essex County Public Transportation, allowing two of CCPT's routes to accommodate that schedule and opening up the opportunity for travel to Elizabethtown, Lake Placid and other destinations.
"That is also a large part of coordinating transportation planning in the North Country overall," said Barie.
Though the routes have changed, the rates have not, said Barie. More information about CCPT rates and schedules can be found on their Web site, www.clintoncountypublictransit.com, or by calling their offices at 561-1452.