NY: City, Hillside Commons Partner to Provide Bus Service

Aug. 07--Two buses soon will be delivered to the city to provide rides for college students living at Hillside Commons, officials said.

The 330-bed student apartment complex at Blodgett Drive will open Aug. 15. The privately developed housing is on property adjacent to the State University College at Oneonta campus.

Paul Patterson, city director of transportation, said the bus service will be provided at no cost to the city of Oneonta and represents a key partnership in providing services in the Oneonta Public Transit system.

Hillside Commons is paying a total of $100,000 toward the buses and service, Patterson said.

That amount includes the city's approximate $20,000 local share toward the $200,000 cost for each bus, Patterson said. The balance is covered 10 percent by state and 80 percent by the federal government, he said.

Also, Hillside Commons also is paying $60,000 this academic year for operating expenses, including costs for drivers, fuel and maintenance, Patterson said.

The 30-passenger buses were purchased through a bidding process and are being fine-tuned at the supplier, Leonard Bus Sales Inc. in Deposit, he said.

Classes at SUNY Oneonta start Aug. 25.

Between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, the Hillside Commons bus will make three trips an hour to pick up students from the apartment complex and take them to the SUNY Oneonta campus for classes, go to the library or to connect with the regular bus service that will take them downtown, Patterson said.

On Thursday, Friday and Saturday every half hour, a Hillside Commons bus will provide rides from the complex to downtown and back between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m., Patterson said. The bus will stop on the SUNY campus and at Hartwick College, he said.

Some Blodgett Drive area residents have inquired about using the service, which is open to anyone under applicable fares, Patterson said. Students use their college identification for fares, he said.

The city and SUNY Oneonta Student Association are working to complete a contract for bus service this academic year, according to Patterson. Under the 2013-14 contract, the student-fee-supported Student Association paid $222,500 for bus services, he said.

Copyright 2014 - The Daily Star, Oneonta, N.Y.