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Bus route helps Twin Counties

August 15, 2018 12:47 am Updated: August 15, 2018 12:47 am

Greene County Transit, in partnership with the Arc of Ulster-Greene, is extending its reach into Columbia County with a new passenger-bus route, taking a long step forward in an effort to work with its neighbor to the east and reduce lingering feelings of separatism.

The new route is expected to kick off Aug. 27. It will start in the village of Catskill and make stops at Columbia-Greene Community College, Columbia Memorial Hospital and the Hudson Amtrak Railroad Station on South Front Street and then circle back to Catskill.

Much work went on behind the scenes to accomplish this formidable goal, Greene County Economic, Development, Tourism and Planning Director Warren Hart said. The route can’t become operational without approval from the state Department of Transportation.

Service will run Monday through Friday with four morning loops and five afternoon loops. It will be a tight fit, Arc of Ulster-Greene Transportation Director Sondra Cozza said Monday. “We’re squeezing that loop into a one-hour loop,” Cozza said.

To help make the route rider-friendly, the fare will be $3. This will hold costs down for low-income passengers who are taking courses at the college or keeping medical appointments at the hospital. Greene County residents lacking access to commuter trains to Albany or New York City was also a consideration for a stop at the Amtrak station.

For years, the Greene County Legislature and the Transportation Advisory Board — a coalition of county departments and civic organizations — have shared an ambition of getting the buses over to Columbia County, Hart said. He’s right. This will forge an important link between two diverse counties that share many similar problems and goals. The wheels are beginning to turn.