HUDSON—The Hudson-Greenport Shopper Shuttle bus is successful. One reason is that it goes to many places that people want to go, and Columbia County is working to increase its service, Hudson Supervisor Michael Chameides (3rd Ward) said November 25.
The shuttle loops between Walmart and downtown Hudson, serving shopping, medical and recreational facilities, including the Greenport Conservation Area. But it operates only Monday through Saturday until 3 p.m.
That is all the service its operator can provide. Now the the county is pursuing a proposal to add service on Sunday midday and weekday evenings, using an additional operator. Mr. Chameides said the shuttle operator hopes to start the expanded service sometime in 2023.
The county owns five buses, four of which are operational and one of which is undergoing upgrades, Mr. Chameides reported. Johnston Transportation operates the county bus routes, providing drivers and, when necessary, spare buses.
With extended hours, the shuttle would run Monday through Saturday until 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p..m, Mr. Chameides said. Under the proposal, Johnston would continue operating it at the times it does now, and a different company, Propark America, would operate it at the new times. Propark, which has its own drivers and buses, would operate all Sunday runs. On Monday through Saturday, the bus operators would change midday.
On October 12 the Columbia County Board of Supervisors voted to authorize contracts with Propark for the management, operation, and maintenance of the additional service and with the Eutopia Foundation to help with funding. The plan is now with the state government, awaiting approval.
The Propark contract is to last for one year, with an option to extend it for another year twice; the Eutopia contract is to last one year. The Eutopia Foundation, according to its online statement says that it “gives grants to programs we believe will make the world a better place.”
“We want to make public transportation accessible to more people, for school, work, medical appointments, recreation,” Mr. Chameides said. Needed is transportation that “can support more residents more efficiently. Our goal is for people to be able to get places they want to by public transportation.”
Columbia County’s public transportation, in addition to the Shopper Shuttle, includes once-a-week runs between various parts of the county and Hudson and Greenport, and weekday commuter buses to Albany.