GLOVERSVILLE - After being denied an increase in funding by Northampton, the Gloversville Transit System will end its service to Northville and Northampton Dec. 31.
Transit Director Al Schutz asked the town and village to increase their yearly payment for the service from less than $1,000 to $5,000, citing fuel cost increases and other factors. While the village had agreed to pay the increased rate, the town rejected the proposal, effectively ending service to the area.
"These runs [to Northville and Northampton] are costing us the most money," Schutz said. "Transit services are not cheap we asked for $5,000 from the outlying towns, which is not outlandish by any means."
Northampton officials said they understand the reasons for an increase but said a nearly fivefold increase is far too much at one time.
"It's absolutely too much of a cost increase," said Northampton Town Board member Ivar Anderson. "We said, 'Give us a reason [for the increase]' and [Gloversville Transit] never got back to us."
Town Supervisor Linda Kemper said the board advised her not renew the contract with the city. She said the increase was far too large, and board members also questioned how many riders are actually using the bus service.
"The board felt [the increase] wasn't justified considering the handful of people that may use it," she said. "We'll see if later we can work out a contract that [the town and the city] can live with."
Without the town approving the contract, Gloversville Transit cannot travel to the village because buses must run through the town to get there, Schutz said.
Village Trustee Patrick Barnett said village officials are sad to see the service end. It has been running since the mid-1990s.
"Given the energy situation, we all would hope mass transit would be used more," he said.
Barnett said while buses are often not full and are even empty at times, the Village Board had expected the upcoming calendar year to see an increase in riders.
"I think we had hoped to see an increase in ridership, and now we won't be given the opportunity to see," he said.
Several people in the village had used the bus service to get to work, Barnett said. He said the Village Board is aware of one woman who may have to quit her job.
Schutz said the services offered by Gloversville Transit are valuable and at a reasonable price. He said a Northville-to-Amsterdam round trip, with a stop at Vail Mills, costs $11.
"All the other towns have stepped up [and paid for the increase]," he said. "We would love to offer services to everyone but basically it's Economics 101."