RTS celebrates start of $4 million transportation facility in Albion
RTS also expanding bus routes to Lyndonville, Holley, Brockport and Batavia beginning in September
ALBION – The Regional Transit Service, along with Orleans County officials, celebrated the ground-breaking for a new 13,000-square-foot transportation facility in Albion on Wednesday.
RTS has run a public transportation service in Orleans County since 2003. It has six buses in the county, and they are parked outside by the County Highway Department on West Academy Street.
The new $4 million facility will allow the buses to be parked inside. The facility will be behind the County Highway Department, with RTS in a 50-year lease with the county for the land.
The facility will include eight indoor bus bays, three bus maintenance bays, a vehicle wash bay, storage for parts and materials, administrative office space, a break room with kitchenette, and designated parking.
“It’s absolutely critical for a county to grow and develop to have public transportation,” said David Callard, chairman of the Orleans County Legislature.
Federal aid funneled to the state will pay 80 percent or about $3.2 million of the cost, while the state pays 10 percent and RTS pays the other 10 percent, said Bill Carpenter, CEO of RTS.
He praised Gov. Andrew Cuomo for approving the bulk of the funding for the project.
Construction of the new facility is set to begin the week of July 10 and is scheduled for completion in July 2018.
“This is an exciting day for RTS and public transit in Orleans County,” Carpenter said. “The construction of this new facility will help our team make it easy for customers to enjoy the ride and fulfill our vision of becoming the preferred transportation choice.”
RTS has the facility on county land to ensure a long-term partnership that is beneficial to taxpayers, Carpenter said.
RTS also pays the county an hourly rate for maintenance of the buses using county mechanics in the highway department. The new facility will also have space for tools and equipment to work on the buses and county vehicles. Right now those tools are in two different county buildings.
When RTS started in Orleans, it was known as the Orleans Transit Service or OTS. It had 3,500 riders its first six months. The ridership has grown to 42,000 last year.
The rebranded RTS will be added routes on Sept. 5, with trips to Holley, Lyndonville, Batavia and Brockport, as well as Saturday service from Medina to Albion.
RTS is doing that without adding buses or staff, adding service while maintaining efficiencies, said Jamie Mott, manager of regional for RTS in Genesee and Orleans counties.