Concerns Over Ride Tioga Funding

Published 07/15 2014 04:16PM

Updated 07/15 2014 05:10PM

Tioga County government is still grappling with how to keep Ride Tioga financially viable.

The public transit system, which is operated by private company First Transit, lost the major source of its revenue this year which had been Medicaid funding.

The state has decided that it would be more cost effective to use cab rides than to help fund transit systems to transport its patients.

That has left the county a roughly $450,000 hole in this year's transit budget.

Already, it's made some adjustments including curtailing some trips, redesigning some routes and raising some prices modestly for people commuting to Ithaca.

"Petitioned the state, the Department of Health, continually asking them for help, asking them for relief. And, we are hoping that the state may come back and make us whole on some monies for this year. But, for the future, I'm not sure what will happen. So, all I can say is that we're working hard, trying to save the program but yet looking at the dollars when it comes to budget time for next year," said chairperson Marte Sauerbrey.

Earlier this year, the county estimated that it had lost about 1,000 regular riders who were funded by Medicaid, leaving only about 200 taking the bus on a regular basis.

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