College officials at SUNY New Paltz joined students and staff, members of the New Paltz community, and representatives from Ulster County on Wednesday, Aug. 27, to announce the start of weekend service on the New Paltz LOOP bus. The new service, a collaboration between Ulster County Area Transit (UCAT), the New York State Department of Transportation, SUNY New Paltz, and the SUNY New Paltz Student Association, will extend LOOP bus service hours to Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“UCAT is a significant asset for the county and our college community,” said SUNY New Paltz President Donald P. Christian. “I’m proud of the collaboration between our college, our students, the county, and the resulting agreement.”
He added, “As the LOOP bus makes its way around town, we hope people will notice the eye-catching advertisements on both sides of the bus as we publicize the college to the local community and visitors. We are your public university.”
The SUNY New Paltz Student Association voted in May to approve an increase to their student activity fee in part to pay for the weekend LOOP bus service (from $100 to $105 per semester). Over the summer, students met with UCAT, the town supervisor, a village trustee, SUNY administrators and New Paltz’s Transportation Implementation Committee (TIC) to discuss extending the service to weekends. The Student Association entered into an agreement with UCAT to fund the weekend service (expected to be about $18,500/year) and the college committed to provide fuel for the weekend service. The college already provides fuel for weekly service, which allows faculty and staff to ride free with SUNY ID, and the Student Association pays for all student fares so that students merely have to show SUNY ID to ride the bus.
“We are thrilled that the student demand for efficient transportation around New Paltz is being met thanks to the extended service agreement,” said Osato Okundaye, president of the New Paltz Student Association said. “This service provides an alternate choice for those students and residents without access to a vehicle and helps to reduce traffic and support green initiatives.”
Robert DiBella, director of UCAT, shared a similar sentiment. “This expanded weekend service will benefit all New Paltz-area residents,” he said. “I am pleased that UCAT was able to work with the SUNY New Paltz Student Association and have the service in place in time for the fall semester.”
SUNY New Paltz student fares are paid for on both weekday and weekend service through their student activity fee, and fares for non-student residents will remain at 50 cents on the weekdays, 25 cents for seniors between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and increase to $1 on weekends. Non-student resident fares are subsidized by funding from Ulster County, the town, the state and federal government for weekday fares. The college provides the fuel for the LOOP bus to help cover costs. In fiscal year 2012-13, the college provided more than $19,000 worth of fuel for the LOOP service. Weekday LOOP service began in 2009, thanks to the interest and efforts of UCAT, the Student Association, SUNY New Paltz, the Town of New Paltz, and the New Paltz Transportation and Implementation Committee (TIC).
Also in attendance at the Aug. 27 announcement were Susan Zimet, New Paltz town supervisor; Gail Gallerie,chair of the New Paltz Transportation Implementation Committee; and Allan Bowdery, member of the New Paltz Transportation Implementation Committee.