CCPT Still Got The Blues
© 2016 Luke T. Bush
PLATTSBURGH CITY, NY – 02/17/16
That’s the description Richard Ticehurst shared with a newspaper reporter back in December.
Richard is the manager overseeing the operations of Clinton Country Public Transport (CCPT). His company, Texas-based McDonald Transit, in summer 2015 took over from another private company that had been supervising county’s public bus system.
Richard made his bluesy comment after NYSDOT (New York State Department of Transportation) inspectors found problems bus maintenance records not being properly filed. He said that his company's recordkeeping would follow proper procedure.
But other problems still plague CCPT. Its present bus fleet has seen too many miles, resulting in maintenance problems. Around half of the fleet is out of service, some buses having racked up about 350,000 miles. There is only one certified full time mechanic with a part time assistant to fix the buses.
In an email interview, James Bosley, Clinton Country Planning Technician, explained that the search is on for a second mechanic. In the meantime the aging buses are being outsourced as needed for repairs.
Ideally a new fleet of buses would solve the problem. James said that the earliest replacement vehicles could arrive would be in September. Why the delay? Well, when dealing with governmental channels requests end up poking along in the slow lane.
“Since the buses are purchased through a grant, there is a process we have to follow” said James. “Right now we are waiting on New York State to resolve a question related to the Lot H award (which is the diesel bus) on the NYS OGS Adult Bus contract. Once we have permission from NYSDOT to place our order, we will do so.”
“Once ordered,” he continued, “the buses will take at least 6 months for the chassis to be manufactured, for the bus bodies to be built onto the chassis, for the vehicles to be NYSDOT inspected and delivered to us. Then we will need to license, register, and insure the vehicles before they are put into service.”
Another problem is restoring some of the routes that were cut back. Even with fewer routes CCPT had to temporarily shut down three of its rural runs, said James, for part of this week to prepare a bus for inspection.
“Once we receive the new buses,” he continued, “we will definitely be taking a look at potentially bringing back some of the services that have been cut and we will be doing outreach to the public as part of that process.”
Until then it will be a rough road for CCPT and its riders.