To our valued Transportation Customers:
In May of 2021, our board of directors voted that we downsize our Orleans transportation program due to costs of running buses exceeding revenue for the last couple of years. According to our auditors, these losses were in the area of $250k between January 2020 and February 2021. Added to this, here are some important points to be aware of:
- Buses are expensive to run and our current funding source requires frequent and costly maintenance. Rates for rides stayed flat for many years and we lost some funding sources while costs increased continuously. We do not have the economies of scale that a larger transportation system has.
- COVID reduced ridership levels to numbers that do not support the cost of running buses. Buses that were once full, were now carrying one or two riders but still cost the same to run.
- When CATS started, there were no other transportation options available. Today there are transportation alternatives for many in need of these services in our community. We value our partnership with these organizations although recognize then they cannot match the valued door-through-door service that we could provide.
- By analyzing our existing contracts, we learned that most did not provide revenue sufficient to cover costs. We are grateful to have received additional funding from the Muriel H. Marshall fund through the Rochester Area Community Foundation which enabled us to continue our services in Genesee county.
- We thank Lynne Johnson, Chair of the Orleans County Legislator, Ken DeRoller- County Legislator, Dean Bellack – Executive Director of United Way of Orleans , and Matt Holland – County Grant Writer of United Way of Orleans for being instrumental partners. This team worked diligently to help us find emergency funding sources in order to extend services. We also had great conversations with ARC to explore partnerships. Unfortunately, foundations and funders are also struggling due to COVID and are not currently able to expediently fund, at the necessary levels, to keep the CATS bus program going. Our partners continue to assist us in exploring funding opportunities for a possible reinvented rider-need program in the future which would utilize less costly vehicles than buses. This could be wheelchair access electric vehicles. With that, you may be aware there is a national shortage of drivers. With that, it may be a considerable challenge to create a newly invented transportation model.
We are deeply saddened that we are no longer fiscally able to continue much of our bus services. For the services still in place, we are pursuing less costly vehicles. Community Action has a large number of programs to assist people in need and strives to help people become self-sufficient. Continuing to run the current CATS program with costly buses would jeopardize the agency and our ability to continue other services which are deeply needed by members of the community.
In the meantime, please reach out to these fine organizations for transportation assistance as we continue to work with partners to seek out solutions.
- Veteran’s Transportation 585 589-3219
- RTS Dial-A-Ride 585 589-0707
- Office for the Aging 585 589-3191
- Medina Transport Taxi 585 798-9400