Tioga County bumps bus fares 50 percent

By Perry Russom

March 11, 2014 Updated Mar 12, 2014 at 4:56 PM EDT

Owego, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The bus fares in Tioga County are going up.

The county legislature presented their annual State of the County Address Tuesday night.

In the address, the Tioga County Legislature reviewed all the past years successes, failures and problems they still have to overcome. One of those problems outlined is the public bus system.

"Everything is on the table at this point," said Tioga County Legislator William Standinger (R). "We're considering all of the options."

The county found out a few months ago that the state would no longer fund Medicaid transportation services though public transit and instead use private taxis.

That cut the county's daily bus riders by 80 percent, leaving the future of the bus service in limbo.

In response to the drop in riders, the legislature voted in favor of raising bus rates by 50 percent.

It's the first fare hike in 25 years.

"I don't know if you could ever raise the fares enough to offset the some $370,000 that we will have to pay," said Tioga County Legislator Dale Weston (R).

The increase in fares will be seen on the monthly bus pass. If you live in the county, you will see prices go from $30 to $45. If you live outside of the county, prices will go from $60 to $90.

"We have to do something and that's a good first step in my opinion," Standinger said. "It shows that we are exploring all of our options."

Weston said there are talks of modifying the bus system such as changing routes and how frequently they run.

The county still doesn't know when they will have a definite answer if they will even keep the bus service.

The public had their chance to voice their opinion on the potential changes Tuesday night.

One woman, who can't drive anymore because she has epilepsy, said if they cut the buses they would be cutting away her independence.

The increase in bus fares will be effective on April 27.

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