Improve Transportation Services

Expand services, optimize the riding experience, and increase awareness.

Columbia County offers public transportation from Hudson to shopping areas, Columbia Greene Community College, and Albany. Over the last few years the County has expanded public transportation and added more stops, but it’s still has major room for improvement. On occasion the bus heat fails, and riders have had very cold rides. The County has asked NY State to help purchase a new bus and we are in the funding queue.

The transportation program is supported by NY State. While the service costs around $450,000 a year, the County costs after State reimbursement is around $120,000.

Improve Awareness

I recommend that we better publicize the public transportation services. Many people are unaware of what services are offered and how to use them. Given the $450,000 value, we should make stronger efforts to make sure people are able to access it.

Update County Website

The County website is missing routes and has incomplete route information. I’ve suggested content updates. Hopefully by the time you read this, the information will be updated.

Publicize Transportation Services

In addition to updating the website, I’d like to see other outreach efforts. This could include person to person outreach, fliers, and signage. The Planning Department is working on creating a printed rider’s guide.

Coordinate and Plan

We should be thinking bigger and looking for ways to better coordinate all of our transportation services. I suspect that if we look at needs and services across departments and agencies that we will find opportunities to make improvements. Consider the Department of Social Services, Meals on Wheels, Health Consortium, the bus proposal in the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, and the County’s already established bus routes.

Contract

The County is currently in a contract with Johnston Transportation. The County pays three to four dollars per mile depending on whether the bus is owned by the County or by Johnston.

The current two year contract was signed in April 2016. It originated with a request for proposals and Johnston was the winning bidder. The contract includes the option to renew at the same terms. The County Government committee has approved a resolution to renew the contract for an additional two years (April 2018 - April 2020). The full Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on February 14.

At the County Government committee, it was suggested that the County put out a new request for proposals for a contract that will cover April 2020 - April 2024.

What do you think about County public transportation? Let me know how it should be improved.