The Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) has some big plans for the future.
The most immediate project involves adding two BusPlus routes to the existing one that travels from Albany down Central Avenue to downtown Schenectady. The first route would take riders from downtown Albany to Crossgates Mall along Washington and Western avenues, and the second route would follow the Hudson River from the Port of Albany to North Troy.
Jonathan Scherzer, director of marketing for CDTA, said the success of the original BusPlus line spurred the decision to add the other two routes.
“We have a tremendous demand for service,” said Scherzer. “So, what we’re trying to do is to meet those demands.”
The Albany-to-Schenectady BusPlus route has been a hit with commuters since it started in 2011.
“In two-and-a-half years, (the numbers have) gone up from 1.2 to 1.6 million riders, and the number of rides have gone up from 3.5 to 4 million rides annually,” said Scherzer. “So, we’re seeing some significant increases.”
BusPlus routes differ from the standard routes in that there are fewer stops along the way, and the frequency of arrivals is higher than the local routes. The buses also offer free wifi access, and the stations include real-time signage so people know when the next bus will arrive.
Starting two more BusPlus lines is seen as the next step in CDTA’s plan to improve public transportation service in the Capital District.
“The corridor from downtown Albany to Crossgates Mall serves roughly 3 million people annually so it’s out second-busiest corridor,” said Scherzer.
CDTA is currently seeking $50 million in federal money to create the 40 miles of new BusPlus routes. Most of the money will go to the Washington and Western Avenue corridor, which requires approximately $34 million for buses, stations and infrastructure. CDTA estimates it needs $12 million for its proposed Hudson River line.