Sunday Bus to Roll On for One More Week

Sunday service ends on Sept. 11; may start up Memorial Day weekend next year.

After , a pilot Sunday and holiday bus service program on the East End will see its last bus of 2011 run this upcoming Sunday, Sept. 11.

South Fork Legis. Jay Schneiderman, I-Montauk, spearheaded the effort to bring the service to East Enders, and said that after 10 weeks the funds to run the extra service have dried out.

"I talked to the commissioner (of the Department of Public Works) earlier today, and he doesn't believe he can squeeze out another Sunday" Schneiderman said.

The Sunday and holiday bus service was reportedly due to end last weekend, though after service was cancelled the Sunday of Tropical Storm Irene East End officials requested an extension of one more week.

Representatives with County Executive Steve Levy's office confirmed the news on Tuesday, adding that since a 50-cent fare increase was instituted along with the increased Sunday service on July 3, the additional revenue has brought in $50,736 to county coffers. Meanwhile, costs to run Sunday bus service have added up to $69,390.

The fare increase on the S92 and 10C routes — the only two in the county that operated on Sundays — will remain in effect as long as the pilot program, which does not have a sunset date, is running.

Levy's office released the following statement: "As per the plan sponsored by Legislators Schneiderman and Romaine, the limited Sunday bus service will continue through Sunday, Sept. 11 before it picks up again next summer. All riders of the two routes will continue to pay the permanent Schneiderman-Romaine fare increase of 50 cents one-way, which is projected to raise enough money to ensure that the limited Sunday bus service does not operate at a loss that would have to be absorbed countywide."

A survey released by the County DPW prior to Levy's approval stated that the fare increase would fund Sunday and holiday service for "approximately 10 weeks in 2011 and approximately 20 weeks in each future year."

The text of the resolution passed by the Legislature stated that service using the increased fares would be instituted "to the fullest extent possible."

Fellow East End Legis. Ed Romaine, R-Center Moriches, said he sent a letter to Levy last month requesting an extension of Sunday service until Columbus Day.

"I think by the end of the year we would have enough to pay through Columbus Day," Romaine said. "If not, it's not going to fall far from breaking even, and we will definitely have a surplus next year."

Schneiderman said on Tuesday that Gil Anderson, the county DPW director, doesn't want to run the risk of running a deficit. And as Schneiderman attempts to work on a countywide Sunday bus service plan, he, too, doesn't want his first year to run in the red.

"We can't put the larger program as risk," he said. "If this runs negative for this fiscal year, it could be pulled and my effort to get countywide Sunday bus is put in jeopardy. I would rather close this fiscal year out positive or breaking even."

Schneiderman said he hopes to run Sunday and holiday service starting Memorial Day weekend next year.


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