Cuts to Bus Routes Cause Confusion and Hurts Riders

In late February the county “voted” to once again to cut bus service without any public hearing or public notice.  The decision was made in late February and the cuts went into effect February 29.  Riders were only informed as they boarded the bus, not ahead of time!  As soon as the changes went into effect it was clear that they were very hurtful and complaints came in from all over the county.  As you can see from rider’s comments printed below the changes caused persons to lose their employment, miss appointments, and alter their life and work schedules for the worse.  In many areas (notably those used infrequently by BU students) wait times are longer, ride times are longer, and people are forced to walk farther distances to their stops and destinations.  This is unfair and disrespectful to all bus rides.  This, we fear, is the first step (perhaps the second or third step) toward privatizing the system all together.

Over the past several months a group of concerned residents, bus riders, social justice activists and service providers have come together to address these problems.  We call ourselves the Broome Transit Advisory Group.  We’ve been meeting with legislators and stakeholders, but with little to show for it: routes and schedules remain inadequate and there is no guarantee that further service cuts will not occur.   So far, the only elected and not-yet-elected officials who have lent their support and attended meetings are Mary Kaminsky, Kim Myers, Mark Whalen, Conrad Taylor, and Jason Garnar.

To continue pushing the issues forward, on June 9th from 6:00pm to 7:00pm (doors open at 5:30pm) at American Legion Post 80 (76 Main St in Binghamton) the Transportation Advisory Group (TAG) will be holding an open forum on the recent changes to the Broome County Transit and its future.  We’ve invited all county elected officials, the bus commissioner, and other elected officials to attend.  If you’ve been impacted by these changes or are concerned about these services cuts please attend and let your voice be heard.  The only way to prevent future cuts and encourage schedules that work for riders is to join together.  If you have questions or need a ride you can contact the Citizen Action office at 607-723-0110. Transportation Advocacy Group also has a facebook page you can like and join.

Below are only a few of the stories we’ve collected over the past several months from persons negatively impacted by the route changes.

I go to BCC and live in Johnson City.  I leave at 10:20 to get a bus at the junction at 11:00 so I can get to school – I get there just in time for my noon class.  It takes me an hour and ½ to get to class.  The night classes are impossible – they let out at 8:50 and the last bus leaves at 8:50. If I leave class early, I get in trouble.  If I do take the bus, I still have to walk to Johnson City from the junction in Binghamton. – Joe

I go to BCC and work weekends at Cracker Barrel on Front St.  I work 8-9 hours on Saturday and on Sunday.  I can’t get back to Binghamton after work.  Also many special programs at BCC don’t mesh with the bus schedule.  The math lab does not, so many can’t get the help they need.  – Nathan

When they cut night service, I had to cut my work hours because I could not get back home. – Shari

I can work only 4 hours on the weekend – I lost 20 hours because of the #35.  I live in Binghamton and work in Endicott. –  Mariah

On May 10th, a man and a woman at Walmart talked about all the buses for the college and lack of buses for older people going to work or going shopping.  The Shopper Special changes have been very hard on us.  – Older couple

A single working mom I know has a son in pre-K in the Binghamton area.  The Binghamton school district does not provide bus transportation for the children who attend pre-K.  Parents must bring their children to school.  This mother does not have a car.  She rides the bus.  She has to take the bus to take her son to school then ride the bus to work in Vestal hoping she makes it on time to work.  She was recently fired for being late many times to work.  She does not have many family members in the area to rely on for help with picking up her son from school or watching her son so she can work hours that fit her son’s school schedule. -Concerned Resident

When we lost night service, I couldn’t get to work anymore and lost my job.  I am still unemployed. Michael

My wife lost a job due to changes – not enough buses going to where she worked.  – Jess

 

 

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