The Jeffersonville Commuter bus will continue to operate through June 30, 2018 without any reduction in service.
Click here for the bus schedule – see Route 36. Green Mountain Transit (GMT) is the regional transit authority that operates the bus.
Previously service was assured through June 30, 2017 but it was uncertain what would happen after that. GMT’s board of directors took action today (May 16, 2017) to assure that the bus will continue to operate through June 30, 2018.
GMT says that annual costs for the bus route are $236,400 and fares cover $27,500 (12%). That leaves $208,900 (88%) to be paid by government. Federal and state grants covered 100% of the costs net of fares through June 30, 2016, but only 80% after that. That left $41,780 for local communities to cover per year. GMT annually requested $14,000 each from the towns of Cambridge, Underhill and Jericho, totaling $42,000. (For readers outside the area, Jeffersonville is a village in the town of Cambridge.)
All three towns paid that amount for the year ending June 30, 2017. Things got complicated for the year ending June 30, 2018. Jericho agreed to pay $14,000. The Underhill Selectboard initially said that Underhill would not pay anything, but a motion was passed from the floor at the Underhill town meeting in March 2017 to pay $5,000. On May 9, 2017 the Underhill Selectboard voted to increase their contribution to $10,000. In Cambridge the issue was discussed but not resolved at town meeting in March 2017. On April 17, 2017 the Cambridge Selectboard voted to pay $14,000 (minutes). Events in Cambridge transpired as recommended in my memo on this issue dated March 24, 2017 (link). That memo includes more detailed information about this issue, including ridership numbers through February 2017.
In summary, after the action of the Underhill Selectboard on May 9th, GMT was only $4,000 short of the amount it requested. GMT’s board of directors voted on May 16th to use $4,000 of its own funds to make up the shortfall.
All three towns will have decisions to make next spring about funding after June 30, 2018. In Cambridge at least, it is currently the intent of the Selectboard that the voters will decide this issue at town meeting in March 2018. By then we will have more information, including the results of a study that GMT is conducting, with the help of an outside consultant, of all their routes.
Look for an update in the 2017 Cambridge annual report when it comes out next winter.