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Officials praise Capital District Transportation Authority expansion into Warren County

CDTA will be replacing aging diesel-powered buses with energy efficient electric models.
Dave Lucas
CDTA will be replacing aging diesel-powered buses with energy efficient electric models.

Officials in Warren County, New York are cheering a local transportation merger.

Six transit lines have been extended into Warren County, offering Capital District Transportation Authority service to Glens Falls, Lake George, Hudson Falls, and Fort Edward.

At his state of the city address, Democratic Mayor Bill Collins said the merging of CDTA with Greater Glens Falls Transit was a long time coming.

“Put simply, the city’s transit service lacked the size, technology, and resources to grow and meet the expanding need that only a full-sized transportation authority could provide. During a series of staffing difficulties over the last couple of years, CDTA assisted us, and together we developed a working relationship in support of Greater Glens Falls Transit operations. Those initial discussions were so successful that the conversation about collaborating continued. And they eventually turned to deeper discussions about the potential benefits CDTA could bring to Glens Falls and Warren County,” explained Collins.

CDTA spokesperson Jaime Kazlo says the merger will keep bus routes familiar while better serving residents at the northern edge of the Capital Region.

“So, nothing is changing immediately. So, we have changed the route numbers. So now, it's, you know, route 402, route 404. So, perhaps the number is different, but the route is still the same. So, it's going to the same places that you would want it to or expect it to. But we also added more bus stops along those routes. So that is hopefully helpful. People won't have to walk as far to get to the bus. We added more than 200 bus stops along the different routes. And all of the buses are now the signature CDTA blue and gold. But really, we're just trying to get to know the community at this point and see what needs and wants they have,” explained Kazlo.

While CDTA is not sharing any ridership numbers yet for Warren County, the transit authority is planning on reassessing existing bus routes after six months, and will adjust routes and run-times based on the demands of the newly-added riders.

“But for us, it's really taking the time to get to know them and gain the operating experience we need in Warren County,” Kazlo continued, “and from there looking at assessing, where can improvements be made? Where can we offer better access for the community?”

Speaking with WAMC, Collins emphasized how crucial CDTA has been in filling in service gaps created by staffing shortages and pandemic related stresses in the existing transit system.

“So, over time during COVID, our problems got worse, the Greater Glens Falls Transit was struggling to hire drivers. We were struggling to hire mechanics, and CDTA more and more became a help for us, provide us more support. So, about two years ago, we started talking about the potential for collaboration. And then last year, we brought those discussions to the Warren County Board of Supervisors,” said Collins.

Warren County Administrator John Taflan says the county has invested some of the revenue from mortgage recording fees, roughly $1 million, in the partnership.

“So, it was a big investment for us. But we knew Greater Glens Falls Transit was probably going to fail. And CDTA offers not just taking over what transportation routes we previously had, but possibly expanding into the rest of the county, which is something we'd like to do, and linking Warren County, all the way down to Albany,” explained Taflan.

Taflan says he’d like to see additional routes to North Creek, Warrensburg, and Lake Luzerne.

“We're kind of looking to CDTA as the professional transportation authority that can make recommendations to us, you know, taking a look at our county, get to know it a little bit and say, ‘these are the things we'd like to do,’” explained Taflan.

Taflan expects to meet with CDTA to discuss potential service adjustments after the summer tourism season.

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