BETHLEHEM After a group of Bethlehem commuters aired their concerns last month about changes to a bus route, officials from the Capital District Transportation Authority have opted to increase bus frequency during evening hours.
The change has been made to Bus Route 18, which travels along Delaware Avenue. The bus will continue to make stops every 20 minutes as per the plan that went into effect on Nov. 11. Stops will increase to every 15 minutes during peak evening hours from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.
“We are thrilled,” said Paul Tick, a resident who spearheaded a town meeting with CDTA. “The (CDTA) Executive Director (Carm Basile) called me and said they are working hard to adjust the schedule to make it better for Bethlehem residents. I think this is a tremendous opportunity for us.”
On Thursday, Dec. 13, about 25 residents met with CDTA officials to discuss problems they witnessed along the route since the change. Complaints ranged from buses being off schedule, overcrowded or having unsafe riding conditions.
Town Supervisor John Clarkson, then councilman-elect Bill Reinhardt and representatives from the Albany County Legislature and Rep. Paul Tonko’s office attended the meeting. CDTA Director of Marketing Jon Scherzer, who is a Delmar resident, and Director of Transportation Gary Cook represented the CDTA.
Route 18 runs from downtown Albany along Delaware Avenue into Delmar, where it then turns down Cherry Avenue into Slingerlands and the Vista Technology Campus. As part of CDTA’s recent restructuring, Route 18 was reduced from four buses each hour per stop to three each hour, every 20 minutes. Commuters asked for the fourth bus to be restored.
Scherzer explained part of that decision was based on allowing buses to travel farther to stop at the new Vista Technology Campus as part of the CDTA’s partnership with the town for campus employees. A portion of the parking lot has also been included as a park-and-ride location.