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Centro Fare Increase Approved, Defer Most Service Reductions

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:56 pm    Post subject: Centro Fare Increase Approved, Defer Most Service Reductions Reply with quote

Centro Proposes Fare Increase and Service Reductions
to Offset Budget Deficit

Fare increase would be first in more than 14 years

From Centro.org:

Syracuse, New York – Rising operating costs and a reduction in two primary revenue sources are forcing the Central New York Regional Transportation Authority to consider a fare increase for the first time since February of 1995.

Under the proposal, fares may increase in each of the four counties where Centro provides bus service: Onondaga, Cayuga, Oneida and Oswego. Service reductions may be made on underutilized bus routes in Onondaga and Cayuga counties.

Effective May 4, 2009, the one-way adult base fare is likely to increase. In Syracuse and Utica the fare may increase to as much as $1.50; and in the cities of Auburn, Rome, Oswego and Fulton to as much as $1.00.

Depending on decisions to be made in Washington, lesser fare increases may be possible. The federal government’s Economic Stimulus Package may provide some relief to the Authority’s budget deficit, thus reducing the size of any necessary fare increase.

In Syracuse, Centro may also shorten its hours of weeknight operation by one hour, to match its existing weekend hours of operation.

The Authority is facing a $5.1 million budget deficit for the fiscal year beginning April 1, 2009 due to a reduction in operating assistance as part of the proposed 2009-2010 New York State budget and from a decline in Mortgage Recording Tax revenues, the latter of which provides funding for each upstate transportation system.

“We will be meeting with elected state representatives from the four-county area next month to discuss the situation. If the federal stimulus bill provides some relief for the New York State budget in education and Medicaid costs, we would ask the state to consider restoring some of the proposed funding cut,” said Centro Executive Director Frank Kobliski.

“This comes at a time when demand for public transportation is reaching record levels in the history of Centro,” said Kobliski. “We are hopeful that the economic stimulus package proposed by President Obama will provide additional funding for our transit authority, allowing us to lessen the fare increase and perhaps save some service.”

“We’ve been able to hold fares steady for the past 14 years. However, we’ve now reached the point where the rising costs of fuel, bus parts and other items necessary to keep our buses running have us running out of options,” Kobliski continued. “Had it not been for the reduction in state operating assistance and decline in Mortgage Recording Tax revenues, we would have been able to continue with our current fares and level of service.”

In addition to the proposed increases in base fares, Centro would still offer half-price fares for seniors, persons with disabilities and children between the ages of 6-9. The fares for Call-A-Bus could increase to $1.75 in Syracuse and Onondaga County, and to $1.50 in Auburn, Fulton and Oswego. Call-A-Bus fares in Utica and Rome would remain the same - $2.00 in Utica and $1.50 in Rome.

Centro is also considering service reductions on the following bus routes:
In Syracuse:

1. 723 Suburban East
2. 250/350 Hancock Airport / Hancock Airpark
3. 78/178 Fairmount / West Genesee
4. 70/170 Oak Darlington
5. 72/172 East Colvin

In Auburn:

1. Auburn direct service to New Process Gear

No significant service reductions are being considered in the cities of Oswego, Fulton, Utica or Rome. Centro will continue to offer debit cards and multi-ride discount passes for its customers. The exact costs of these fare media will be determined at a later date.
In order for the Authority to gauge public sentiment, and for the Authority to weigh all alternatives to reduce its budget deficit, public hearings will be held at the following times and locations:

February 17, 2009 Fulton Municipal Building 5:00p -8:00p
February 18, 2009 Oswego County Legislature Chamber 4:00p-7:00p
February 19, 2009 Edward Boyle Center – Auburn 4:30p-7:30p
February 24, 2009 Rome City Common Council 4:00p-7:00p
February 25, 2009 Curtin Auditorium, Onondaga County Public Library – Syracuse 4:00p-7:00p
February 26, 2009 Utica City Common Council 4:00p-7:00p

Last edited by RailBus63 on Sun Mar 01, 2009 10:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

According to the sidebar to the article in this morning's Post-Standard, routes 70 Oak-Darlington, 250 Hancock Air Park and 723 Suburban East would be eliminated under the Centro proposal while service on routes 72 East Colvin and 78 Fairmount and the Auburn bus to the New Process Gear plant in East Syracuse would be cut back.

I'm surprised that the 723 is up for elimination. This route was one of two suburban minibus routes that were implemented in 2002 as part of the authority's ReMAP project that reconfigured the Onondaga County bus routes and introduced the current route number system. The other suburban minibus was 736 Suburban West which operated in Camillus and was quickly discontinued due to low ridership. The 723 seems to fill a niche and connects various eastern neighborhoods to the local shopping centers and service was expanded at one point, but apparently ridership must be lacking if the route is now on the chopping block.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2009 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

UPDATE - thanks to newly-available stimulus money from the federal government, most of the cuts have been averted, although fares will rise.

From the Centro website:

CNYRTA Board Defers Full Fare Increase and Some Service Cuts
Base fare increases in Syracuse, Auburn, Oswego and Fulton only;
Base fares in Utica and Rome unchanged; Two routes eliminated

Syracuse, NY – The Central New York Regional Transportation Authority Board of Members has decided against the larger of two proposed fare increases for its Centro bus services and opted for a second proposal that would raise the adult base fare in Syracuse, Oswego, Fulton and Auburn only. The fare increases would be effective May 4, 2009. However, the Board retained the option to implement the balance of the proposed increase during the Authority’s 2010-11 fiscal year, should the need occur.

As a result of the vote, the adult base fare in Syracuse will increase by $.25, bringing the adult base fare to $1.25; and by $.15 in Auburn, Oswego and Fulton bringing the adult base fares in those cities to $.75. The base fares in Utica and Rome will be unchanged. The adult base fare in Rome will remain $.75. The base fare in Utica will remain $1.25, however a pre-sale option allowing customers a $.15 discount will be discontinued.

The Board also determined that some proposed route reductions are not necessary at the current time. The Board voted to take no immediate action on the following bus services:

Route 78 / 178 Fairmount / West Genesee
Route 72 / 172 East Colvin
Route 70 / 170 Oak-Darlington (weekday rush hour)

Weeknight service in Syracuse will be retained through the 12:30am lineup with the exception of the 12:30am Grant Boulevard departure from Common Center (eliminated) and the 12:30am Westmoreland / Salt Springs departures from Common Center, which will be combined into one bus.

The Board did approve the elimination of two existing bus services:

Direct bus service from Auburn, Weedsport and Port Byron to New Process Gear - effective April 6, 2009.
Route 250 / 350 Hancock Airport - effective May 4, 2009.

The Board held off on any action regarding Centro’s 723 Suburban East – Minoa bus route until additional research can be performed in the very near future. Further research will also be conducted on potential reductions on the 78/ 178 Fairmount / West Genesee route, which may occur in September. A final decision has not been made on midday service for the 70 / 170 Oak-Darlington route.

In reaching its decision, the Board recognized Rep. Daniel Maffei D-DeWitt and Rep. Michael Arcuri D-Utica and their efforts securing funding under the Federal Economic Recovery Act (stimulus) that will improve the Authority’s overall financial standing, allowing the Authority to shield its customers from more drastic measures.
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Location: Perry, NY

PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 11:50 am    Post subject: Will Centro Shield Customers from Mr. Magoo? Reply with quote

Does this mean that Centro and other transit authorities will be able to shield their customers from the myopic antics of Mr. Magoo( it shouldn't take much to figure out who I mean, lol.). At least the SNL skit was funny, lol. What Magoo is trying to do to the state is no joke, however.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 723 Suburban East route has been saved, although the route will be shortened and Saturday service will be eliminated:

CNYRTA Board Retains Critical Part of Suburban East-Minoa Route 723

Upon further review of Centro’s Suburban East –Minoa Route 723 by the CNYRTA Board of Members and staff, the Authority has determined it will continue operating segments of that service that provide transportation for individuals who would otherwise be without any transit options.

In a unanimous vote, the Board approved a new weekday schedule that would continue to connect Minoa and Fremont residents with the Northeast Medical Center and the Fayetteville Towne Center, with scheduled transfers in Fayetteville to the rest of the Centro network. Some trips will still continue directly to Shoppingtown Mall during commuter hours. Customers will also be able to transfer at Shoppingtown Mall to reach other routes in the Centro system.

There will be 9 daily trips Monday-Friday from approximately 6:00am-6:30pm. The Saturday service will be discontinued effective May 4, 2009, as will the segment of the route that provided service beyond Shoppingtown Mall.

“The service will remain in the areas where residents would have had no alternatives within the Centro system. Thankfully, we will be able to continue to support this service with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Stimulus),” said CNYRTA Executive Director Frank Kobliski. “However, this money is a one-time funding source and this service has not performed well within the Centro system. Therefore, will continue to monitor ridership on this adjusted route.”
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2009 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The fare increase has been announced - as of May 4th, the standard adult fare for the Syracuse/Onondaga County routes will be increased from $1.00 to $1.25. As part of this change, tokens are being phased out and are no longer being sold.

More details here.
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