OCO Helps Keep County Residents On The Move

OSWEGO, NY – For those without access to a vehicle, Oswego County Opportunities Oswego County Public Transit makes getting around easier.

Gary Mashaw, director of Transportation for OCO and a member of the Oswego County Transportation Coalition, recently updated some county legislators about the service.

He said he’s looking forward to maximizing the use of OPT and better educating the public on the transportation options that exist in Oswego County.

“Through partnerships such as the Oswego County Transportation Coalition and assistance from New York State, our goal is to let everyone know that even though the county covers a very large area, our array of bus routes and transportation options make it easy for anyone to travel throughout Oswego County.” Mashaw said.

Their ridership is increasing, especially in the northern part of the county, he noted.

He used utilization by miles by passenger – between 2006 and 2010 as an example.

“The goal is to see more miles per passenger, that means you see less empty buses,” he explained.

The miles per passenger increased from 5.9 in 2006 up to 6.7 in 2010 and is projected to hit 6.9 this year.

The trend is going in the right direction, which is reducing our ‘dead head’ mile. It was 2.5 in 2006 and has been reduced down to 2.3,” he said.

In 2006 they had 164,850. It slipped the following year to 164,817. In 2008, it rose to 166,226 and the 173,315 in 2009 and then jumped in 2010 to 183,012.

The rising cost of fuel has had an impact on the program’s costs, he said.

RIT System

The Rural Intelligent Transportation System project is a relatively new concept in the state, in which requesting cities and counties struggle to design and apply to local operational needs and conditions, Mashaw said.

With national ITS requirements and lack of local technological knowledge, few counties are prepared to study, design and build a viable and robust ITS program, he said.

ITS can be a valuable operational asset, supporting the federal United We Ride initiative and mandated requirements for agency coordination and thus constitutes an excellent use of Stimulus funds, he explained.

“This technology will assist with coordination, reduce vehicle needs, reduce greenhouse gases, improve efficiencies in mobility and provide long-term benefits to Oswego County and New York State’s transportation industry as a whole,” Mashaw said. “Oswego County’s rural provider, Oswego County Opportunities, is a system determined to be best suited to develop an ITS model form.”

It would also allow for greater on-board security for both the drivers and riders, he added.

OCO is a rural provider housed in a one-call center, with multi-agency coordinated efforts established for many years now.

The county contains mostly flat lands, providing for minimal dead zones that ultimately can prevent technology from reaching its full potential, he added.

Their facility is busting at the seams because of the recent growth. We house 48 vehicles on a 1.5-acre lot.

OCO also offers Call-N-Ride, a curb to curb transportation service for the elderly and persons with special needs in Oswego County.

They brought back the service a few years ago. It has been sponsored by Constellation Energy the past four years, Mashaw pointed out.

Individuals and other general public may use the service when public transportation when public transportation isn’t readily available in their area.

The service can be used for medical, social or personal business.

For more information, call 1-877-484-3287 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Reservations need to be called in three business days in advance.

For more information on transportation services offered through OCO, call 598-4773, 1-877-484-3287 or visit oco.org/transportation.htm