MAPPING FUTURE BUS TRANSPORTATION FOR ROCKLAND

As stated in last week’s article bearing the above-stated title, Ombudsman Alert will share all future developments in this project with our readers in a series of articles of which this is the second:

As promised in the first article, your Ombudsman reached out to Commissioner Douglas Schuetz of the Rockland County Department of Transportation with the following message:

“As will be stated in my weekly column in the Rockland County Times on Thursday, October 25, this newspaper will initiate a series of articles under the generic title: ‘MAPPING FUTURE BUS TRANSPORTATION FOR ROCKLAND,’ which follows the October 18 article: ‘CLARKSTOWN’S UNIQUE MINI-TRANS BUS SYSTEM WILL SURVIVE.’ The first article in this series will emphasize the critical need for the existing TOR Bus System to coordinate with the Mini-Trans System to help improve a projected scaled-down Mini-Trans Bus System serving the residents of the Town of Clarkstown. This writer firmly believes that along with the town of Clarkstown, the towns of Orangetown, Haverstraw and Stony Point fully deserve treatment from TOR equivalent to that currently given to the town of Ramapo, enabling their respective residents to enjoy convenient and affordable bus transportation, especially for the growing number of seniors (and disabled) residents who no longer drive autos.”

The response, which I promptly received from Susan Meyer, Senior Public Information Specialist of the Rockland County Departments of Planning and Transportation, states in part:

“Hello Dr. Alpert, Commissioner Schuetz and our staff have reviewed your recent series of articles regarding the Clarkstown Mini-Trans. Please be assured that we regularly have conversations with Mini Trans staff. It may interest you to know that we met with the town regarding potential changes to the Mini-Trans system last month. At that time, we provided information regarding requirements for a service change and/or fare increase, and made recommendations regarding analyses that could potentially be done to assist the town in determining the transit needs of its residents, and possibly provide data that would enable the system to operate more efficiently .In your article published on October 18, you described the county’s TOR bus system as being ‘county-subsidized.’ To clarify, the county’s transport of Rockland (TOR) bus service uses no county tax dollars to operate. In fact, there are no county tax dollars used whatsoever for the TOR, TZx or TRIPS bus services, nor for the staff or activities of the County Public Transportation Department. We’re completely funded with state, federal and regional transportation dollars (no county tax dollars).”

Ombudsman Alert fully appreciates this response from the Commissioner, so perhaps I should replace the phrase “county-subsidized funds” with “county-directed funds” when describing the disproportionate bus transportation monies directed to Ramapo as compared to Rockland’s remaining four towns.

Clearly, these monies “do not grow on trees” and are paid for by every single taxpayer in Rockland through their New York State and federal income taxes!

Ombudsman Alert is awaiting information from the towns of Clarkstown, Orangetown, Haverstraw and Stony Point concerning their needs for improved TOR bus service to benefit their residents, with particular emphasis on the needs of the seniors and disabled who no longer drive autos.

This Ombudsman will continue to share all new information on this subject with our readers in the forthcoming articles of this series.

Please direct all questions and comments to editor@rocklandcountytimes.com.