After tracking ridership, public transportation provider will launch new routes around the Village of Penn Yan, expanded service to include Himrod in the Dundee route, and another route betwen Penn Yan and Geneva.

After a little more than a year of providing affordable public transportation around Yates County, the Yates Transit Service has announced plans to expand some routes and add others.

Daniele Lyman, President and CEO of The Arc of Yates, the agency that established the transit service in collaboration with Yates County, outlined the changes, which will take place in April, during a quarterly report to the Yates County Legislature March 12.

Lyman said the changes include:

• Route 6: three routes  (6A, 6B, 6C) that will circulate through Penn Yan once in the morning and once in the early afternoon daily.

• Route 1 Limited: Because of the increased ridership on the original Dundee route, and in response to suggestions from the community, another mid-day route will be added.

• Route 1A: In addition to Routes 1 and 1 LTD, this route will travel via Rte. 14 to include Himrod.

• Route 5A: In addition to Route 5, which will go to Geneva via Rte. 14, Route 5A will go to Geneva via Route 14A.

Detailed maps of all the routes will be available on the YTS website and available in printed brochures soon, promised Lyman.

Lyman provided statistics on other routes, pointing out that within one month of establishing  Route 3 LTD between Keuka College and Penn Yan, the public ridership on that route was greater than the ridership on all other routes.

“We’re pleased that we’ve been able to grow steadily and slowly,” Lyman said.

To learn more about YTS, visit www.Yatestransitservice.com.

Other business at the March 12 Legislature meeting included:

• TOURISM: Gene Pierce, of the Yates County Tourism Advisory Committee, with Cynthia Kimble of the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance, presented a semi-annual report on the committee’s tourism promotions efforts. The committee’s bylaws were approved by the legislature during the meeting. 

The TAC is appointed by the legislature and is responsible for making recommendations for the use of funds collected through the Yates County Occupancy Tax. The aim is to fund projects that will bring non-residents/tourists into the county, increase participation by both residents and non-residents, assist the legislature in making decisions about tourism development and management, and promote the positive economic and social contribution made to the local economy. Members of the TAC are Susan Baron of Los Gatos Bed & Breakfast; Josh Trombley of Keuka Restaurant; John Socha of Showboat Motel; Dani Eichas of New Vines Bed & Breakfast; Brian Zerges of Finger Lakes Premier Properties; Jeanne Wiltberger of Keuka Springs Winery; and Pierce, of Glenora Wine Cellars.

Kimble’s presentation included a review of programs the Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance carries out with funding provided by the TAC. She shared statistics the agency tracks, and described efforts to attract visitors from around the world. While the number of rooms available in the 14-county region has increased by 3 percent, the average rate of occupancy is down, but she said those two figures are related; that the increased inventory means promotions efforts must be aimed at filling more lodging. 

Noting that revenue is up by 5 percent, she added, “We have to work to continue to maintain occupancy.”

For 10 years the FLTA has worked cooperatively with other partners on a major effort to draw international visitors who have traveled to New York City. The effort targets German, Chinese, French, and United Kingdom markets. She showed a recently published 10-page spread about the Finger Lakes in the German version of Vogue magazine, and another article in Cessna magazine that featured information about the Penn Yan Airport.

• CONTRACT: After an executive session, the legislators unanimously ratified an agreement with the AFSCME Council 82 representing the employees of the emergency communications personnel. Legislators first approved a resolution recognizing Council 82 as the exclusive bargaining representative for emergency communications personnel in the Yates County Sheriff’s Office. Council 82 has already functioned as the bargaining representative for  full time corrections, dispatching, clerical, and other civilian employees within the Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Sheriffs are represented by another organization, C.O.P.S. Specific terms of the contract were not available at press time. 

• RAISE THE AGE: The legislators unanimously agreed to authorize Chairman Douglas Paddock to work with other area counties to engage a consultant to assist with compliance with the adolescent offender detention requirement of the New York State Raise the Age legislation. That legislation, enacted in April 2017, raised the age for trying juveniles as adults from 16 to 18, and the legislators say Yates County does not have enough adolescent offenders to justify the county acting alone to establish programs that meet the new standards. The new regulations go into effect in October of this year, and state regulations prohibit detaining adolescents in facilities with adult offenders. New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive budget includes $100 million to reimburse the counties for the additional costs of meeting these requirements between Oct. 1, 2018 and March 30, 2019. Paddock says the county does not have an estimate yet of what this will cost the county, but staff are collecting data to establish details.

• Hunting on county property: Paddock said a request from the Yates County Federation of Conservation Clubs to allow hunting on county-owned properties has been referred to the Government Operations Committee, after resident Valerie Brechko asked questions during the public comment portion of the meeting.

• Watershed Plan: Torrey resident Grant Downs commented that the county should establish a Nine Element Watershed Plan, based on information he learned at a recent Harmful Algae Bacteria meeting.