Woerner, Saratoga Chamber hopes high amid CDTA merger talks

Woerner, Saratoga Chamber hopes high amid CDTA merger talks

SARATOGA SPRINGS — As merger talks continue between the Capital District Transportation Authority and Greater Glens Falls Transit, local stakeholders envision a new bridge between the two markets.

The merger talks are expected to conclude sometime this year, after more than a year in the works. If the two units merge, an alternate route between Saratoga Springs and Glens Falls could be in the cards, authority spokesman Jaime Kazlo reported.

“I’m hoping that by having a north end in Glens Falls, it will start to give us a mechanism to build in transit between Glens Falls and Saratoga Springs and push things north,” said Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, D- Round Lake.

Already connecting Albany to Glens Falls is the 11-year-old Northway Express, a $4 minimum route limited to weekdays (CDTA’s regular fare rate is $1.50). The express route makes one stop at Congress Park five times a day.

The GGFT has a $1 route that runs through Glens Falls and Moreau, its southernmost point. The road dates back to the 1980s.

“I don’t know to what extent there is a workforce demand for a commuter bus” between Saratoga Springs and Glens Falls, Woerner said. “That is the question. Maybe now that we have Glens Falls as part of the Albany Med system, that starts to increase passenger transit demand between those two points, but I think the organizational model, again, I think facilitates those conversations.”

Saratoga Hospital has been an affiliate of Albany Med since 2017.

Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce President Todd Shimkus hopes a CDTA-GGFT merger could mean transit access near Gurn Spring Village, an area home to SUNY Adirondack’s Saratoga Road campus and several corporate distribution centers.

Overall, Shimkus hopes a unified system could free up a tight job market as well as reduce the need for transit designated by the Saratoga County Department of Social Services.

Prior to joining the chamber in 2010, Shimkus led the Glens Falls-based Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“Again, this disconnect between Glens Falls Transit and the CDTA makes it nearly impossible if you live in Warren County but your job is in Saratoga County or if you live in Saratoga County and your job is in Warren County, you have no public transportation option. ” Shimkus said. “So we hope this helps us connect employers with employees.”

CDTA with more than 750 employees and an annual budget of $101 million. GGFT has a budget of $2.1 million and employs 25 workers and operates seasonally out of Bolton Landing.

The largest began its history in the early 1970s with the acquisition of United Traction Co, Fifth Avenue Bus Co, Schenectady Transit Co. and eventually the Albany-Nassau Bus Co. The public corporation recently expanded operations in Montgomery County.

Like the last county, any change in service providers would ultimately require approval from Warren County, Saratoga County and Washington County.

“There’s not much to report on it right now, but I say they’re still positive and supportive, so I’m sure there will be a lot more in 2023 with what it looks like for CDTA and Glens Falls Transit — but very positive.” said Kazlo.

CDTA’s 2021 bike share program was launched along with the Warren County Expressway in Lake George, Queensbury and Glens Falls in coordination with GGFT in 2021. The authority hopes to double CDPHP cycle count! bikes in the Amsterdam Area Bike Program coming in April.

Tyler A. McNeil can be reached at [email protected] or 518-527-7659. Follow him on Twitter @TylerAMcNeil

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