OMBUDSMAN ALERT ANNOUNCES VICTORY FOR ROCKLAND COMMUTERS

BY DR. LOUIS ALEPRT
Ombudsman

On November 3, 2017, an article entitled “OMBUDSMAN ALERT EXCLUSIVE: NYS Dept. of Transportation tells officials it wants to eliminate Tappan Zee Express bus service”, this column started our lobbying efforts to restore the widely used express bus service from the Palisades Mall to the Tarrytown Railroad station that was slated to be ELIMINATED by the NYS Department of Transportation (DOT) once the Lower Hudson Transit Link (LHTL) replaces the Tappan Zee Express in October, 2018.

In that article this Ombudsman solicited statements, supporting our position, from each of our elected officials including County Executive Ed Day, Assemblypersons Kenneth Zebrowski and Ellen Jaffee, as well as Senator David Carlucci.

Finally, on Thursday, March 22, 2018, at a meeting held at the Palisades Center, the collective efforts of the Bi-Partisan Rockland County and New Yrork State elected officials, the many Rockland commuter-citizens who showed up to protect their interests, as well as the long-term efforts of this newspaper, led to a victory to restore this vital express bus service!

The following Press Release was sent to this Ombudsman for inclusion in this article:

Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski Announces Victory for Rockland Commuters

Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski (D-New City) announced today that the NYS Department of Transportation (DOT) has decided to include the express route from the Palisades Mall to the Tarrytown Train Station once the Lower Hudson Transit Link (LHTL) replaces the Tappan Zee Express in October 2018. Assemblyman Zebrowski and his colleagues in county and state government, as well as transit officials, recently stood at a press conference urging DOT to restore the route. For months, officials have heard from countless Rockland commuters who were concerned when the list of proposed routes had eliminated the popular express route.

At the Lower Hudson Transit Link open house yesterday, on March 22nd, DOT officials displayed their latest route service which included the express bus to Tarrytown. Many residents were in attendance to advocate for the inclusion of the route and to check for an update on the most current service plan. Both officials and commuters were instrumental in ensuring that this route was preserved in the new bus system.

“Today is a victory for Rockland commuters. I am thankful for the Department of Transportation’s willingness to listen to the needs and concerns of residents. This was truly a joint effort between all levels of government and the collective community that advocated for this and made their thoughts known. Preserving this route will guarantee that commuters are afforded the most efficient service possible. We will ensure that this remains in the final schedule moving forward,” said Assemblyman Zebrowski.

“I am extremely pleased to see that the LHTL Project Team has restored the Express Route from the Palisades Mall to the Tarrytown Train Station in their latest draft service plan,” said County Executive Day. “Thank you to my fellow elected officials and to all the commuters who shared their concerns and made their voices heard. I will continue to keep the pressure on until the plans for this service are finalized and implemented in the best interests of our commuters.”

“Many Rockland commuters depend on express bus service to Tarrytown and to do away with the route would have been a mistake. I applaud the Department of Transportation for listening to residents’ concerns and keeping express bus service. Mass transit should be accessible to everyone,” said Senator Carlucci.

“I applaud the New York State Department of Transportation for listening to those of us in Rockland – advocates and commuters – and for acting on our request to maintain the Tappan Zee Express Bus route from the Palisades Mall to the Tarrytown Rail Station in the new Lower Hudson Transit Link schedule. As elected officials and government agencies, our job is to listen to those we serve and to alleviate, not impose hardships. The DOT’s wise decision ensures Rockland commuters have access to a modern, efficient bus system that meets their unique needs and encourages ridership,” said Assemblywoman Jaffee.

“I am happy for our customers who use the Tappan Zee Express service to Tarrytown knowing that going forward it will continue to operate as it does now, and perhaps even with additional time savings,” concluded Randy Glucksman, Metro-North Railroad Commuter Council Chair & MTA Board Member.

In closing, Ombudsman-Alert would like to express his gratitude to the many active citizens in our community, including individuals such as Orrin Getz, as well as to our Bi-Partisan elected officials, who helped to ensure this important victory for our Rockland commuters.

Please send all comments and questions to: editor@rocklandcountytimes.com.