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Buses are not going anywhere, for now

Elizabethtown Supervisor Margaret Bartley.

Elizabethtown Supervisor Margaret Bartley. Photo by Katherine Clark.

— Elizabethtown Supervisor Margaret Bartley said she received a number of concerned phone calls when she returned from a recent vacation.

Bartley, the freshman supervisor who chairs the transportation committee for Essex County, said some constituents called her concerned that the bus program had been eliminated.

“Very worried that we have already done away with our bus system,” Bartley said. “They are very concerned that the system is going away. Some have told me that they have been told by other supervisors that the buses are going away. The bus system is still here and it has not gone away.”

Bartley said that she felt the system was needed for residents in her town.

“I have constituents that are blind or impaired in other ways that cannot drive and they are very afraid,” she said.

Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava said that while he had not told anyone the bus system has been stopped, he did let people know that he felt it may be in the future.

“I have told people that we have not cut the bus program yet but I am realistic with them,” he said. “You do not have the ridership and we just cannot afford to support it.”

Board Chairman and Jay Supervisor Randy Douglas said that, in his opinion, the issue came down to the amount of funding that the county would receive for the program.

“If the funding is cut back, then we have some hard choices to make,” Douglas said. “We can't absorb that cost. The bus services that we currently know them as could be substantially cut if the funding is cut back. We have to prioritize what our needs are during tough financial times.”

County Manager Daniel Palmer said that he was already working with Transportation Department Supervisor Nancy Dougal on the upcoming budget.

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