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Town bus users air concerns

Fewer buses, overcrowding, lack of notification create headaches on Route 18

— “I don’t drive because I have a phobia,”said Nancy King. “I have to take two buses to get to work in Albany, and usually I don’t mind, but with the changes I’ve been missing my connection.”

Rider Kate Marra said she feels the buses have been dangerously overcrowded lately and fears someone could get hurt.

“The other day I was let on and had to ride standing past the yellow line,” she said. “Rush hour times have been very congested, and I don’t think CDTA did a good enough study.”

Scherzer assured the group that extensive research was done comparing ridership numbers to times of day, and reports were taken from drivers to figure out the precise number of bus routes needed.

“We didn’t just pull numbers out of thin air,” he said.

Scherzer said drivers are still figuring out the schedule and most of the issues should correct themselves given a little bit of time. He also encouraged commuters to report any behavior instigated by drivers that they feel may be dangerous.

Those in the audience said they wouldn’t feel so upset if there had been more notice of the changes. Some commuters said the Route 18 bus did not have any notifications onboard, and it took them several days to realize the schedule had changed.

“That was our fault,” said Scherzer, apologizing. “We could have done better with that.”

Reinhardt asked why additional routes were added on the weekends, but a route was taken away during peak hours. Scherzer said the decision was made to shift resources and allow buses to travel to Vista. Reinhardt asked if the decision was based on funding, and Scherzer suggested writing to state and federal representatives to advocate for additional money for the transportation authority.

The meeting ended with little resolved.

CDTA officials asked for patience and said they would address some complaints with drivers. It is unlikely any bus routes will be restored. Commuters asked for a schedule that appropriately reflects bus arrival times and to be forewarned of the possibility of changes in the future.

In the meantime, the group plans to write letters to their representatives and have already sent one to CDTA Chief Executive Carm Basile.

“We very much look forward to the resolution of these problems,” they wrote. “We await the improvements in service, so that we can once again experience ourselves as proud customers of the CDTA.”

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