Taking a Ride on BC Transit

By Matt Markham

March 1, 2012 Updated Mar 1, 2012 at 7:12 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) BC transit riders have been adjusting to new schedules since January, and some have been forced to alter their daily plans to make up the difference. After receiving numerous complaints, the Broome County Executive decided to ride few miles in their shoes.

"Our bus drivers are short-tempered, our passengers are short-tempered," said Karen MacIntire of Binghamton.

It's all over cuts to BC Transit's budget last year.

"The bus drivers feel like they're sitting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting, when they can be getting out there getting their people," MacIntire said.

Time is the root of many complaints. Most buses now stop running before 9:00 p.m. The wait for a ride has increased from thirty minutes to forty-five minutes. BC Transit cited safety as a reason for that change.

But, the change in pulse times is a problem especially for students who ride the 5 Route to Binghamton University.

"I would get there late if I take the bus that would seem to work, or I would have to go over an hour early," said Traci Tamarkin.

Riders who work late or are in class all day also want late service fully restored.

"That would give us time to do our school stuff in the day, and we could go grocery shopping at night," said Unmesh Kulkarni.

Broome County Executive Debbie Preston (R) says she's received numerous complaints and rode the bus to check it out.

One was about large advertisements blocking windows causing BC Transit users to miss stops.

"I did get onto one of those buses and you are able to see," Preston said. "On a day like today when the weather is nasty, the windows get dirty very quickly, but you can see where to get off."

Preston will consider the criticism with her staff and BC Transit facing an uphill battle to restore funding.

"We can't correct them all overnight, because when this was changed in the budget last year, that was a lot of money that was taken away," Preston said.

She added, "Transit has been very helpful in working with us because they were told what they had to do with their budget last year and this is what happened."

One suggestion from Shane Evans of Binghamton, "Just go back to the way it was, even if they have to raise the rates a little bit."

A fare hike is not the county's favored solution, but it has not been ruled out.

An extra evening bus was added to the BCC route.

Preston plans to meet with BC Transit officials and her staff to go over the comments she received today.

To submit a comment on this article, your email address is required. We respect your privacy and your email will not be visible to others nor will it be added to any email lists.