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City bus runs to college are ending

Thursday, May 08, 2014 - Updated: 10:20 AM

By NICOLE ANTONUCCI

nicole.antonucci@recordernews.com

JOHNSTOWN -- Fulton-Mont-gomery Community College is contracting a new bus service for students traveling from the Amsterdam area this summer after agreements with Amsterdam Transit fell through.

Amsterdam Transit has been busing students to the college for more than 10 years at no cost, but this year, transit officials had requested payment.

F-MCC President Dustin Swanger said negotiations fell apart after he requested additional services for the students.

"I knew they were going to ask for a subsidy, and that is fine, but we wanted more services," Swanger said Wednesday. "One of the things students were saying was that service from Amsterdam is inadequate, so I told Amsterdam I hoped we could talk about enhanced services."

At a budget meeting last month, Amsterdam Transportation Director Cheryl Scott told the Common Council that all of the city's bus vendors have not chipped in for gas, mileage, maintenance or use of the vehicles.

And because of that, the transportation fund is operating at a deficit of more than $250,000, Scott said.

As of May 27, Amsterdam Transit will no longer provide service to F-MCC, but Swanger said that a new service would be in place for the summer term. F-MCC will then issue a request for proposals to have a permanent bus service in place by the fall.

Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane said she was aware of the issue, and is hoping for a resolution that benefits both entities.

"We are all struggling with resources and difficult budgets, so we have to try to work together, and we are going to do that," Thane said.

She added that the city may have a competitive edge in terms of cost.

More than 100 F-MCC students currently utilize the transportation system, which involves multiple pick-up points in the city. These include the Riverfront Center, Guy Park Avenues, East Main Street, Market Street and Fort Johnson, according to the city website.

Swanger said Amsterdam Transit had requested a subsidy of $72,000 for current service which includes one or two runs in the morning and two in the afternoon.

It is more than the $50,000 subsidy F-MCC pays to Gloversville Transit System in Fulton County.

"Gloversville has four or five runs, plus they run a weekend service for us," Swanger said. "They are very responsive to our needs and it's a good relationship."

     

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