Updated 05/21/2012 07:11 PM
Residents glad public transit is back
St. Lawrence County residents now have a cheap and easy way to travel from town to town without a personal vehicle. The new bus transportation system has officially opened up to the public. It's been five months since residents have had a public transit system in the area and our Cara Thomas says residents are glad to have it back.
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ST. LAWRENCE COUNTY, N.Y. -- When St. Lawrence County's public transportation system closed at the end of December, many riders were nervous, especially commuters who didn't have a car or a license.
Massena resident Aaron Adams said, "I was kind of scared, I was a little leery about how I was going to get back and forth to work because I didn't have a ride. I didn't know nobody."
The old bus system was operated by Roethel's, a company in Ogdensburg, but the county said they could no longer fund the program because not enough people were taking advantage. And now, five months later, a contract has been signed and a new organization is making it possible for everyone to travel throughout the county.
Jerry Filiatrault is the Director of Operations at NYSARC.
Filiatrault said, "I foresee that's it's going to be a very good deal for the county and for NYSARC."
NYSARC is a company that supplies transportation to those who are handicapped or elderly. They already make bus stops in towns all around the county and are federally funded. This new public transportation system will not only take riders to more locations, it won't cost the county a dime.
Filiatrault said, "We're already carrying some people who had some needs that requested rides and so we just want to get it going and we realize we're going to have to tweak it as we go along, but at least it'll be there so people can ride it. They can take advantage of it and they can give us suggestions."
"It helped me out a lot because I really did need that because it got me to work on time and it got me to work early too," said Adams.
NYSARC buses officially began picking up the public on Monday. The new system will be run using a token system. People can also purchase passes for multiple rides or monthly or yearly passes.
NYSARC is in the process of creating a website with bus stop information. They have also ordered bus signs and shelters once they decide on definite locations for the bus stops.
NYSARC says they will be holding another set of public information meetings in about four months to hear from the community regarding how the new bus system is working. They say they are always willing to make changes and improvements.