Thursday, January 26, 2017

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Public transportation highlight of Beacon town hall session

Casale: "We need people to start riding public transit ..."

BEACON – The first of a series of Beacon town hall meetings, facilitated by Mayor Randy Casale and various Dutchess department heads, played host to the unveiling of various county bus transit updates on Wednesday.

Dutchess County has a large number of residents who rely on the public transit services, some of them present at the town hall meeting.

“In the event that the City of Poughkeepsie ceases to provide transit services after June 2017, the County is preparing to expand County service to include City of Poughkeepsie routes to replace that service with a different service plan based upon studies done in 2009 and 2013 by the Metropolitan Planning Organization and on the information received from City residents at public meetings in 2015 and 2016.”

“Our services would be available from, probably, 6 in the morning to 11:30 at night; it would be a much longer day and we would provide services that would accommodate all the senior citizens,” Ruiz said. “We would provide tripper service for the students who go to the middle and high schools. We would provide services for the businesses up and down Main Street, connecting the river to the end of Main Street. We would provide services that would accommodate the colleges and the hospitals. We would try to cover all the groups that need it.”

Starting February 4 the county’s LOOP bus system will have increased Poughkeepsie town service. A new route encompassing stops along, and to, Hooker Avenue, Zack’s Way, Boardman Road, Spackenkill Road, Red Oaks Mill, the Dutchess County Airport, The Shoppes at South Hills, Poughkeepsie Galleria and Vassar Road . Those buses will run Monday through Saturday, from 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Starting February 5, the county will launch its long-awaited Sunday service for routes: A (Poughkeepsie to Fishkill), B (Poughkeepsie to Beacon), F (Beacon to Fishkill) and H (DCC, Marist, Poughkeepsie, Hudson Plaza, the Galleria, Poughkeepsie Plaza). They will run a limited service along similar routes to the Monday to Saturday buses.

The county will also be releasing an app for smartphone access to all of the established routes, bus arrival times, as well as real-time GPS status of the bus and the app user themselves so they can communicate where they are with respect to that route’s bus.

Individuals who are too far from a stop can flag a LOOP bus down from anywhere the bus is traveling. Also, Ruiz said individuals who are on a train and need to transfer to a bus in Beacon may call dispatch to alert the bus operator that the train is on its way. Presently, the bus operators will wait for people to disembark the train and walk to the bus if the train is a little late coming into the station. Regularly scheduled stops along the route may not be delayed. Connections in the City of Poughkeepsie are worked out between the bus operators along the route via radio.

Mayor Casale said with the new improvements to public transit, and having seen a number empty county buses running through Beacon from time to time, the main effort is to get people to utilize public transit.

“We need people to start riding public transit to sustain public transit,” said Casale. “The more we promote it, and the more the businesses promote it, and the more people get used to it- we talk about parking problems, we talk about, ‘It’s hard to walk here to there,’- use the public transit. So, that’s what we plan on moving forward and hopefully we can promote it, we can get people to ride it and the more people that ride it, the better the service will get I believe.”

 


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