Posted on Apr 20, 2017
Community Voices Heard's Dutchess County Chapter has played a key role in preventing the City of Poughkeepsie bus system from being eliminated and replaced with the private Dutchess County Loop system operated by First Transit, a transportation company based in Ohio. While CVH members were previously able to prevent the buses from being cut a few years ago, the adopted city budget for 2017 had only allocated funds for the buses until June 30th.
Members of CVH's Dutchess County Chapter held a press conference at Poughkeepsie City Hall on April 19 to call on the Poughkeepsie Common Council to continue funding city bus routes, in advance of the Common Council's vote that afternoon on a budget amendment that would fund city bus service for the rest of 2017. 70 city residents came to the press conference to show their support of the budget amendment. The Council passed the amendment by a vote of 5 to 3, preserving bus service for the city for the rest of the year.
This success comes after a campaign where CVH members and community residents had turned out to every meeting of the Poughkeepsie Common Council since plans for transferring service to the County, resulting in privatizing and cutting bus service, were announced. CVH members put pressure on local officials to restore funding for the city buses. This public pressure resulted in the Mayor recalling in February the Memorandum of Understanding that would have settled the arrangement to have the County take over service. CVH and community members continued to organize - getting petitions signed, voters registered, and holding the press conference - in order to get funding restored through the end of the year.