OMBUDSMAN ALERT: Critical Concerns for Changes in Clarkstown’s Mini-trans Bus System

BY DR. LOUIS ALPERT
Ombudsman

As the Town of Clarkstown faces the ever-challenging task of keeping property taxes stable, Councilman Donald Franchino has suggested eliminating the town’s Mini-trans bus system, which benefits mostly the elderly and disabled, could be a wise decision.

The Ombudsman Alert appreciates the budgetary concerns expressed recently by Councilman Franchino, who represents residents in his ward consisting of Central Nyack, West Nyack, Nanuet and Bardonia. To be sure, in his ward, there may be overlapping competing services offered by the county owned Transportation of Rockland (TOR) and, if so, there may be savings for the town if those residents in his ward, especially the senior citizens and disabled who no longer drive cars, can conveniently be serviced by TOR.

On the other hand, it is not as clear that the residents living in the remaining three wards of Clarkstown could be adequately and conveniently serviced by the county’s TOR system. In order to justify cutting down on the Mini-Trans service in any of the wards, Clarkstown has decided to hold a Workshop Meeting that will include a discussion of these critical issues.

All interested Clarkstown residents should attend the Tuesday, October 16 Workshop meeting of the Clarkstown Town Board, starting at 7 p.m. Advocates of opposing viewpoints will sound off and those in attendance will be sure to learn all of the arguments pro and con regarding changes to the Mini-Trans Bus System.

The Ombudsman Alert will be on hand, paying close attention.

I concludes this week’s article with an important message sent to me by Myrna Arin, President, AARP Rockland, Chapter 1577. Her message reads:

“To Ombudsman Alpert, there are more than 65,000 adults over 60 living in Rockland County and this population will continue to grow. AARP Rockland has found that most of these folks wish to remain in the county, reside in a private residence, and maintain maximum independence.

“Thus, it is critical, as more and more seniors no longer drive, that they have access to sufficient and affordable public transportation. This population has significantly contributed to the well-being of our County throughout the years and many continue to do so on a daily basis.

“While we recognize that there are often budgetary issues in decision making, we urge all Rockland County lawmakers to incorporate the ‘public good,’ when reviewing cuts to public transportation. Perhaps what is needed is better coordination between towns and county transit. If anything, AARP Rockland urges our legislators, as our population ages, to consider expanding rather than contracting daily pick-ups and routes.”

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