Transit Director Al Schutz has a set a target date of May 12 to begin the system’s expansion into Amsterdam.
At the Common Council meeting Tuesday, it approved the necessary budget modifications needed for the new route to begin.
The route will allow four Gloversville Transit buses to run into the city of Amsterdam four times each week day. Riders will be able to purchase a $4 one-way ticket or pay $8 for a round-trip fare, Schutz said.
Stops will be at Amsterdam Memorial Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital to increase the number of Medicaid riders who can use the system, bringing more money into the department.
“With what happened at Littauer, I think more people may need to travel to Amsterdam,” he said.
Doctors at Nathan Littauer Hospital terminated their managed care contract with Capital District Physicians Health Plan last week, and county officials noted that could lead some patients in the Department of Social Services Medicaid program to change medical providers.
The city has a contract with DSS to transport county residents in the Medicaid program, and Schutz said about 5,000 round-trip riders are expected to be generated by DSS in the first year of service to Amsterdam.
DSS clients have a choice between two primary care providers — CDPHP and Fidelis Care.
Schutz said he has also contacted Fidelis to see if any of its clients need transportation.
Finance Commissioner Bruce Van Genderen said the city should draw approximately $10,000 in the first year of the new route.
“We have taken a conservative approach with the numbers,” he said. “But I never would have supported it if I did not think it could break even.”
In addition to medical care, riders also will have greater access to jobs and shopping opportunities in Montgomery County because of the route, which will have its hub at the Riverfront Center.
Schutz said bus trips eventually will be coordinated with the Montgomery Area Xpress bus route, which runs between Amsterdam and St. Johnsville.
Two buses had to be purchased for the Gloversville-Amsterdam route, and one full-time and one part-time driver were hired. The state and federal government will pick up 90 percent of the cost for the buses.
An expected state grant will be used to pay for the two buses, along with a new bus for the transit system and two new shelters.
While Schutz had been waiting for $15,000 in aid from the state before starting the route, he said the aid will arrive later in the year.
“[The route] will have to happen for now without the grant, but that should not be a problem,” he said.
Schutz has been working since August to get all of the necessary approvals and money for the route into the city. He said just the possibility of getting the route started is exciting.
“I think it will be good for the city, good for everybody in our area,” Schutz said.
The Amsterdam route will be monitored closely in its first year of operation, Van Genderen said, to be certain it is carrying as many passengers as expected.
The council is expected to formally approve a resolution to make the budget modification at its next meeting April 29.
Rodney Minor covers Gloversville news. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.
The Leader-Herald/Rodney Minor
Gloversville Common Council members are shown at Tuesday’s work session Tuesday. Councilman-at-Large James Handy is not shown.