JOHNSTOWN - New Johnstown Mayor Michael Julius and Gloversville Mayor Dayton King are communicating about possibly renewing Gloversville Transit System bus runs through the city of Johnstown that ceased more than three years ago.
"I spoke to Dayton King, and I said I campaigned on renewing the bus run," Julius said Friday.
Julius said he has spoken to many of his city's residents who wish to see extensive GTS bus runs through the city renewed.
The Gloversville Transit System's buses to Johnstown stopped running in November 2010 after the cities failed to negotiate a new contract after the old one ended.
After taking his oath last week, Julius immediately made public four main goals for his administration in 2013. One of those goals was to "find funding" to bring back GTS runs to Johnstown. He called such an initiative a "positive step toward improving the quality of life of this community."
"Public transportation will allow our citizens easier access to the public library, the community center, the senior center, the YMCA and local shopping," Julius said in his State of the City address.
Julius said King is aware of his desire to renew the bus runs.
"I'm waiting to hear from him," he said. "I got the impression that he thought it was something that was needed."
Julius said the problem for him now will be to try to "squeeze money out" of a 2013 city budget he had no part in crafting.
The bus service, which in 2010 offered 13 routes on weekdays, ran in a loop that connected residents of both cities with senior housing developments, downtown Johnstown and Gloversville, the Johnstown Mall, Arterial Plaza and Hannaford and the former Walmart in the town of Johnstown.
Gloversville's Common Council voted to discontinue service to Johnstown after Johnstown officials declined to increase the city's contribution for the service. Johnstown had been paying $38,100 per year to subsidize the service.
King said this morning the idea of possibly renewing bus service to Johnstown will be discussed at the next Gloversville Common Council meeting at 6 p.m. Jan. 14 at City Hall.
"We'll talk about it at our next meeting and put it on the agenda," King said.
But he said to renew the bus runs to Johnstown will involve "a little bit of a contribution" from Johnstown.
"And it sounds like with Mayor Julius, he might be willing to do that," King said.
GTS Mobility Manager William Walrath said today the decision to reintroduce Johnstown buses is a political one at this point, and out of his hands.
"I think it's up to the two cities to see what they want to do," Walrath said.
But he said any such an increase in runs to Johnstown will require an "expansion" of his department, including money and manpower.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.