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Hudson loses trolleys, expands city bus routes

Dec 22, 2010 7:52 am
The City of Hudson's beloved trolley buses, in operation since the early 1980s, are about to become a thing of the past as new bus routes throughout the city have started getting publicized and the city eliminated the trolley system from its budget for the coming year and chose, instead, to go with a new Coxsackie Transport system, pending approvals. The Register Star reports today that Mayor Richard Scalera’s office has formulated a new bus route through the city — pending approval from the county and Coxsackie Transport — which adds stops at four crucial locations and will eventually expand service by two hours in the morning and evening.

The shift will combine Hudson’s trolley stops with the county’s Greenport Shopping Shuttle while also incorporating new stops at Columbia Memorial Hospital, the Department of Social Services at 25 Railroad Ave., Hudson High School on Harry Howard Avenue and the Crosswinds Housing Project down the street from the high school. Officials hope to enact the new bus route at the start of 2011, but it may take a few weeks longer if County Commissioner of Planning and Economic Development Ken Flood and Coxsackie Transport owner Wayne Parks are not on board for whatever reason, Scalera said. In the case that further kinks need to be worked out, Scalera said there is still some money left in the budget to continue running the old bus service for a few weeks if need be, ensuring no lapse in service for diligent riders.

The additional stops will, clearly, make the original route a little longer, with less loops and different stops than what riders have been used to since the 1990s.

“There are going to be people inconvenienced and we understand,” said Scalera. “Even if it’s just one person, I feel for them, but we have a fiduciary responsibility — if the bus services is hemorrhaging money — to do something about it.”

There are plans to expand the bus services’ hours from its current 9:05 a.m. to around 3 p.m. to as early as 7 a.m. until as late as 5 p.m. This won’t be taking place in January as originally planned, Scalera said, because the county has not ordered its new buses yet and they may not arrive until as late as March of next year.

The buses will still be county owned but manned and operated by Coxsackie Transport employees, which may impose some additional costs on the city, Scalera said.

The city will retain ownership of its trolley buses for another year as they are currently under a 10-year agreement with the state Department of Transportation which does not permit the buses to be operated outside of Hudson. However, once that year is up, Scalera said the fate of the buses is “up for discussion” but selling them is the most likely scenario.

The main changes in the bus route are as follows:

The bus will still arrive at Stewart’s on Green Street from Albany (where the county’s buses are stationed) at 9:05 a.m. and proceed up State Street over Second Street to Providence Hall. The bus will then, as usual, go down Front Street and loop around the Amtrak station and then to Warren Street.

Normally, the next stop would be the St. Charles Hotel on Park Place at 9:18 a.m., but the new route will bypass this stop and instead arrive at the Columbia Memorial Hospital at 9:22 a.m.

Under the old schedule the bus would then continue straight out of the city into Greenport from the St. Charles Hotel to bring passengers to ShopRite, Peebles and other various retailers. But the new route dictates that from CMH, the bus will return to Stewart’s at 9:25 a.m. and then proceed to DSS at 25 Railroad Ave. at 9:30 a.m., then to the Crosswinds development at 9:35 a.m. and finally to Hudson High School at 9:37 a.m.

Under the old schedule with less stops, the bus looped around the city, out to Greenport and back again eight times. Under the new schedule with the additional four stops, it will only loop five times throughout the day — that is, until the expanded hours are able to be adopted.

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