Three new buses are ready to roll on the regular Oneonta to Cooperstown routes, the result of a four-year collaborative effort between the city and Otsego County.
City, county and other officials will mark the accomplishment with remarks in a celebratory gathering at the Transportation Center in Clinton Plaza on Main Street in Oneonta at 8:40 a.m. Thursday. A highlight will be the on-time departure of a Cooperstown-bound bus at 9 a.m., Paul Patterson, city transportation director said.
In the collaboration between Oneonta Public Transit and Otsego Express, three new 30-passenger buses have been put into service on the route between the two municipalities. The new buses will officially begin their state Route 28 trips Thursday, Patterson said, but the vehicles have been road-tested this week.
Patterson said the city has run the Route 28 service since the 1990s. In 2010, OPT recognized that a large percentage of riders on the Oneonta to Cooperstown route were from the county outside the city, the release said.
Meanwhile, expenses to maintain the older buses and the rising fuel costs were exceeding the revenues that the city received from the route with resulting pressure to increase fares, the release said. The county, recognizing the public benefit of the route, agreed to make an arrangement that benefited OPT and Otsego Express.
“Everybody recognized that reducing service on the route would be detrimental,” said Psalm Wyckoff, senior planner with the Otsego County Planning Department. The city had been doing a fantastic job providing the service, she said Tuesday, and there was mutual benefit in seeing it continued and collaborating to find a solution.
Under the new agreement, the new buses were purchased by Otsego County with federal transportation grant funds provided by the state Department of Transportation with a 10 percent local share contributed by the city of Oneonta, Patterson said. The buses cost $160,000 each, he said.