A public transportation system operated by The Arc of Yates could be up and running within nine months of approval by the Yates County Legislature, and the one-way fare for rides on up to five routes could be $1.
The Yates Transportation Committee presented details from its recent survey of the Yates County community, and some options for the possible service at a public forum Monday evening. Next Monday, May 9, the committee will present more details to the county legislature.
Mary Zelazny, CEO of Finger Lakes Community Health, and a member of the committee, said the group was charged by the legislature with finding out what the needs are, what the costs of a system would be, who would run the system and how it would be sustained.
She said she became involved because rural health systems struggle to get patients to appointments. Right now, she employs staff who transport patients to medical appointments in Yates County. However, patients in Ontario County are given transportation tokens to use with that county’s public system.
From a survey that was taken by 712 people, the committee learned that most people would use public transportation for shopping, medical or dental appointments, and work.
Most of the people who responded to the survey lived in Penn Yan, and the most frequently identified destinations were Penn Yan, Geneva, and Canandaigua, although some also identified Dundee, Watkins Glen, Rochester, and Bath.
Daniele Lyman, president and CEO of The Arc of Yates said The Arc has the infrastructure and ability to provide the service, which could be partially funded with state department of transportation grants and possibly federal funds. Since only municipalities can apply for those funds, the county would apply, and pass the funds on to The Arc, which would also provide some matching funds for operations, she explained.
The proposed routes that were presented Monday night are:
Penn Yan to Dundee
Penn Yan to Dresden
Penn Yan to Rushville
Penn Yan to Naples via Middlesex
Penn Yan to Geneva.
Buses would make regular stops along those routes on morning and afternoon trips, but would also stop when passengers flag them down. For example, the bus on the route between Penn Yan and Dundee might have planned stops at Horizon Business Park, Finger Lakes Produce Auction and The Windmill, but it could also stop at Oak Hill Bulk Foods or one of the other businesses or homes along Route 14A Lyman explained.
The Arc operates a fleet of 20 buses, and has drivers who are trained and licensed for public transportation. The agency already provides Medicaid transportation in Yates County and offers shuttle and charter services to businesses and organizations.
Lyman said the committee wants to collect more information, and asked each of the people at the forum to complete a questionnaire and comment specifically on the proposed routes.
In the past, Yates County officials heard a public transportation proposal from Rochester Transit System, which also operates in Ontario County.
Photos of each of the five proposed routes are posted at www.Chronicle-Express.com.