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The Local Public Bus Route from Poughkeepsie to Tivoli: How We Almost Lost It and How It Was Recovered

Por Adriana P Parada Campos
June 2024
From spontaneous conversations, solitary journeys listening to your favorite songs, to trips to new or well-known places, public transportation provides access not just to travel from one place to another, but also to enjoy the journey without breaking the bank. Being something for the community, what happens when it is in danger?
Public transportation is supposed to guarantee that people have access to travel without the need for a car, providing affordable transportation to economically vulnerable citizens, giving them independence in a country where vehicles dominate access to different places. This is no exception for Bard College students, as the college is located in a remote area where many do not have the privilege of owning a private vehicle, making public transportation a necessity for the well-being and mobility of students and workers. However, it was at risk, as the County Legislature sought to cut the Red Hook and Tivoli stops for Dutchess County's Loop C bus.

The elimination of Route C was proposed as part of the modifications to be adopted in the county's 2024 budget, allegedly due to low passenger numbers. County officials told The Daily Catch, a Red Hook newspaper, that this new budget would generate annual savings of over $265,000, and that they had supposedly been planning it since 2019. These changes, which would remove the stops after Top Market in Rhinebeck, would eliminate the stops in Red Hook, Bard, and Tivoli. The changes, set to begin in March 2024, were halted by a legislative vote that not only reinstated the bus line but improved it.

Chronicle of a Little Announced Elimination

The news of the elimination of Route C came out of nowhere and brought panic to the route's passengers. According to Bard's Vice President of Civic Engagement, Erin Canaan, none of the people they communicated with from the northern county community were consulted about the proposed changes, and no one at Bard was given "prior notice." This led Bard's administration and several students to vigorously protest at public county meetings. Shortly after the policy announcement on December 13, 2023, Bard's Student Government, along with President Botstein's Office, communicated the situation to the Bard community, inviting them to participate and voice their concerns. Students responded to this call by affirming their stance: "We protest this decision!" through various channels.
The process was extremely fast, according to Erin Canaan. "I learned about the bus cancellation over the weekend through Jeff Smith, director of Bard's Transportation Office. We all contacted local leaders, our county legislator, and the local newspaper. We were notified on a Friday that the meeting in Rhinebeck would be that Thursday, all notices were very quick."

Just six days after the initial announcement, on Thursday, December 14, a discussion was organized at the Rhinebeck town hall where the community could attend. Despite the short notice, over 25 Bard students presented their opinions and experiences with the buses according to public records. Students advocated for the stops to remain intact as they are essential. "We use the bus for medical, family, and professional visits; the lack of Route C would affect us greatly as a community and leave the most vulnerable worse off, as they would have to use their own resources for necessary appointments due to the lack of public transportation," commented a student. Furthermore, another Bard student, speaking on behalf of the New York State Assembly, described the elimination of Route C as "a matter of life and death." 

These concerns were heard by the new Dutchess County Executive, Sue Serino, who, along with the opinions of local residents, businesses, and community organizations, took immediate steps to ensure the continuation of public transportation service in Red Hook and Tivoli. Serino submitted a resolution to the Dutchess County Legislature to establish this service after discovering that one of the justifications for removing the service at certain stops came from a study conducted during the pandemic, which showed only two passengers per month, not matching the current reality.
Executive Serino stated that she was grateful for everyone who came to share their thoughts and opinions on the bus service, as their support was needed to bring about change. The proposed resolution would not only guarantee the continuation of the public transportation service but is also expected to encourage more residents to take advantage of this community service.

In the end, this is what was resolved:
✹ The public transportation services to Red Hook and Tivoli (Loop C) will not be eliminated in March 2024, but will continue with the previous schedule and route until June.
✹ Starting in June 2024, the county proposes to improve the Route C schedule to increase the frequency of buses on the route, resulting in nine buses a day with shorter times between them, instead of the current eight buses with a several-hour gap at midday.
✹ The Dutchess County Department of Public Works is creating a transportation task force, which will include representatives from Bard.

Serino expressed that "we want our public transportation bus service to be as effective as possible and ensure it is used to its full capacity. The Route C bus is a valuable resource for northern Dutchess County residents, so I urge Red Hook and Tivoli residents, in particular, to spread the word to friends and neighbors that this resource is here so people can get to work, school, medical appointments, go shopping, and much more. We encourage you to use it!"

In the 1970s, the Dutchess County public transportation division took over private transportation lines thanks to the 1964 Urban Mass Transportation Act, which set a precedent for government-subsidized transportation, allowing states to apply for grants to build and change transportation services. For this reason, it is important to stay aware of public transportation and any changes because it is transportation for the community.

For more information about Dutchess County public transportation, as well as fares and schedules, visit to top

La Voz, Cultura y noticias hispanas del Valle de Hudson



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