New bus routes in and around Saratoga Springs will go into effect on Sunday.
The Capital District Transportation Authority and city officials are hoping the redesign of the four bus routes that serve the city will make riding convenient for more people, and encourage riding by people who drive or walk. There will be more service between between neighborhoods and the Exit 15 shopping area.
“It can reduce congestion and provide relief for our limited parking resources,” Mayor Joanne Yepsen said at a press conference Thursday to promote the new route structure.
Route restructure highlights
Along Route 50 between Wilton and Schenectady, buses will run 4:45 a.m. to 1:15 a.m. six days a week, shorter hours on Sundays. Buses will run more frequently.
New route running between Ballston Spa and Saratoga Springs, stopping at Quad Graphics, Jefferson and Vanderbilt Terraces, the Saratoga rail station, Naval support housing and Saratoga County Department of Social Services. Runs 6:15 a.m. to 8 p.m. six days a week, 9:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.
Links Skidmore College to downtown and the Wilton Mall-Exit 15 area. Runs 6:15 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. most days, late-night downtown-to-Skidmore service on weekends “for safety purposes.”
CDTA also announced that the summer shuttle service it has operated for a number of years between downtown, Saratoga Race Course and other local destinations will for the first time be free for all riders, in part to give potential riders a taste of bus service.
“We’re trying to get people who now take their cars to take the bus,” said Ross Farrell, CDTA’s director of planning.
Overall, Farrell said, the amount of service in the city will increase about 25 percent, with new service on the city’s West Side and between Skidmore College and the mall area.
The new system will increase the frequency of buses on the Route 50 line between the Wilton Mall area and Schenectady, serving Saratoga Springs and Ballston Spa. That route carried more than 300,000 people last year, making it the busiest in Saratoga County. CDTA officials believe it will grow.
“When you increase frequency and decrease wait times, you increase ridership,” said CDTA Chief Executive Officer Carm Basile.
Basile said the new route system is the result of a year of public meetings, study and planning. “It’s not everything that everybody told us they wanted or would need, but it’s a consensus.”
Discontinued regular bus routes include those serving the Saratoga Casino Hotel, Lake and Weibel avenues, High Rock Avenue and the YMCA. CDTA official say those routes were under-used.
Yepsen said the revised routes are part of an effort encouraged by the city to accommodate more multi-modal transportation options in the city, “because that’s what residents are asking for.”
The free trolley service, which will run July 3 through Labor Day, will run between Broadway, the thoroughbred track and the Saratoga Casino Hotel, where a new hotel will open in July.
Yepsen said using the trolley will be a way to reduce traffic congestion in the city during the track and tourism season.
A complete description of the new routes is available on CDTA’s website.
Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.
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