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May 8, 2012


Uphill fight for a bus route

Albany Times Union
-Paul Grondahl April 1, 2012

ALBANY - It took 20 years of requests from South End residents to get the Capital District Transportation Authority to add a bus route up the long, steep Morton Avenue hill and just four months to declare it a resounding success.

In fact, it's one of the fastest-growing of CDTA's routes.

Since the revised Route 100 began in November, ridership has increased 44 percent and continues to grow at a rate of about eight new riders each day. So far, it draws about 2,000 daily riders, said CDTA spokeswoman, Margo Janack.

The route has stops in the South End, West Hill and Arbor Hill - all predominantly minority and poor neighborhoods.

"I'm watching the bus go past right now and it looks full. It's really popular and the people are exited," said organizer Willie White, director of AVillage Inc., a grass-roots community organization. The group got its bus after two decades of sporadic requests and a relentless two-year campaign that included lobbying politicians, circulating petitions and leaflets, holding meetings and crashing the CDTA's board meetings.

"It's had astounding growth and has been very successful," Janack said. "AVillage was a strong advocate for bus service on Morton Avenue. We heard them and developed a route that works well with several communities. We're pleased with the results and are thankful for their efforts."

The Route 100 bus loop has eight stops, with service every 30 minutes, and includes a stop at Albany Medical Center on New Scotland Avenue. Albany Med is a major destination for work or doctor visits ofr South Enders, many of whom can't afford a car. Residents had dubbed Morton Avenue "Heartbreak Hill," and ice and snowbanks made it treacherous to walk most winters.