New routes are coming for the Huntington Town-operated bus system, and riders and residents are invited to weigh in and ask questions about the changes at two informational meetings.
The first session will be held Oct. 27 at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington and the second on Nov. 3 at the East Northport Public Library. Both meetings run from 10:30 a.m. to noon.
Starting in January the bus system known as HART — Huntington Area Rapid Transit — will begin its first significant route and schedule changes since it began operating in 1978.
The goal is to attract more riders.
“The system has continually gone down with ridership through the years,” said Stephen McGloin, the town’s director of transportation and traffic safety. “We’re hoping the changes bring the system up to one that will better serve Town of Huntington residents.”
Four new routes with an additional 20.5 miles of coverage will replace the system’s three existing routes. Buses will run more frequently and offer more direct service with less need to transfer between buses to complete trips, town officials said.
Two weekday Long Island Rail Road feeder routes that have lost most of their ridership are being eliminated, McGloin said. He said those who use the bus system or who would consider using it should come to the public comment sessions.
“We will have bus drivers who are very familiar with the new routes as well as the old routes,” McGloin said. “So when people have questions we can direct them to somebody that drives the route and knows the features of the new routes to better help the public.”
Town officials are also considering increasing HART fares in the proposed 2013 budget. Fares for a single adult ride on the system would go from $1.25 to $2; rides for the elderly would increase from 50 cents to 75 cents, and student fares from 75 cents to $1.25.
The changes come after a three-year study of ridership patterns.
The new routes can be viewed on the town’s website at http://huntingtonny.gov/hart_bus.cfm.