Exploring one of Jefferson County’s planned bus routes

Published: Feb. 24, 2023 at 5:09 PM EST
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CLAYTON, New York (WWNY) - Jefferson County’s bus route is taking shape with 4 routes connecting communities. The plans aren’t finalized, but they’re getting there.

“We have to make sure the system makes sense,” said Sam Purington, executive director, Volunteer Transportation Center.

We zeroed in on one of the routes connecting Clayton and Alexandria Bay.

“Everything’s Watertown-centric. Everything’s either in or out of Watertown,” said Purington.

Starting at the bus stop next to Credo Community Center on West Main Street in Watertown, the bus will go straight to Alexandria Bay.

The first stop is at Gordon Court Apartments, putting an emphasis on lower-income housing where residents may not have their own car.

“It’s going to allow people to have freedom when they don’t have a vehicle, don’t have access to friends or family that have a vehicle,” said Purington.

From there, there’s a stop at River Hospital and Paul’s Big M.

Medical providers and grocery stores are prime stops for all four planned routes.

Then the route goes to the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel in Clayton.

Mike Hooson with the Clayton Chamber of Commerce hopes the route will bring in workers.

“It’s getting more and more difficult to get people to work, especially at some of the restaurants, hotels. Anything that could help alleviate that would be huge.”

Along with employment, another goal of the county transportation system is promoting education. All four draft routes have stops at either Jefferson Community College, Jefferson-Lewis BOCES, or both.

“For medical appointments, a lot of the time they’ll utilize Volunteer Transportation volunteers, but we’re really not set up to handle education and employment. There’s just not enough volunteers to handle that,” said Purington.

Other routes include the Carthage area, the Philadelphia area, and southern Jefferson County.

Purington says there will be one more round of public comment before the routes will be approved, with buses traveling the roads in the next couple of years.