Bus service hopes to start construction next year on new transportation facility

Photo by Tom Rivers: Six buses for RTS Orleans are parked outside by the Orleans County Highway Department on West Academy Street in Albion. The Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority said it expects to start construction on a new transportation facility at the site next year.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 September 2016 at 7:24 am

ALBION – The agency that runs a public busing service in Orleans County expects to start construction on a new transportation facility next year.

Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority started a bus service in Orleans County in 2003 with the Orleans Transit Service. That was rebranded in 2014 to be RTS Orleans. (RTS stands for Rochester Transit Service.)

The Transportation Authority has six new buses in Orleans. They transported 40,368 in the last fiscal year.

RTS Orleans has the buses parked outside by the county highway garage. The new transportation facility would have eight bus bays plus three more maintenance bays. RGRTA foresees expansion of the service in the future. That’s why there are two extra bus bays for the current fleet, Mike DeRaddo, director of regional operations for the RGRTA, told Orleans County legislators on Wednesday.

RGRTA is looking to add Saturday service in Orleans County, and also have more “connectivity” to RGRTA services in neighboring Monroe and Genesee counties, so Orleans riders can go outside the county to Brockport and Batavia, DeRaddo said.

Some of the routes in Orleans will also be redesigned. The changes are in response to a public outreach campaign by RTS Orleans earlier this year. DeRaddo said Saturday service was a big request in surveys and public meetings.

RTS Orleans has 10 employees and the six buses which covered 186,000 miles last year. The service has a $659,448 operating budget. Bus fares cover $51,137 of the budget. A local mortgage tax (a quarter of the 1 percent mortgage tax) generated $127,647 for the bus service.

The bulk of the budget comes from the bus authority, which directed $359,371 from its funds to support RTS Orleans.

Bill Carpenter, chief executive officer for RGRTA, said the organization is committed to the operation in Orleans, and is looking to make it better by changing routes to better service riders and by building the transportation facility.

A final design for that facility goes to the state Department of Transportation in November, with its approval expected in December, said Dave Belaskas, director of engineering and facilities management for RGRTA. If federal funds come through as expected, construction should start in May and be finished in 2018, he said.

The federal government typically pays 80 percent of capital project costs, with the state paying 10 percent and RGRTA the remaining 10 percent.

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