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COUNTY TRANSIT BUSES START ROLLING MONDAY MORNING

Public transportation is coming to Allegany County on Monday.

Allegany County Transit, a unit of Progressive Transportation Inc./ Coach USA of Horseheads, will have its first buses on their routes starting at 6 a.m. Schedules and routes are tentative, said Manager Dennis Green, but buses will crisscross the county and go as far as Olean to the west and Bath to the east.

The bus routes all begin in Belmont, the county seat, about four miles south of the garage Allegany County Transit is using at Belvidere.

From there, they will fan out on five routes:

North regional runs will cover Belfast, Caneadea, Rushford, Houghton, Short Tract, Angelica, Scio and Belmont.

South regional routes will cover Scio, Wellsville, Alfred, Alfred Station, Almond, Hornell, Arkport, Canaseraga and Bath, as far as the Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

West regional routes will include Scio, Wellsville, Belmont, Belvidere, two stops in Friendship, Cuba and Olean. An Olean loop will also include several stops in that city.

The east loop route will run from Belmont to Scio, Wellsville, Whitesville, Hallsport, Stannards, Wellsville, Andover, Alfred Station and Alfred before returning to Belmont.

The west loop will start from Belmont and go to Belvidere, Friendship, Cuba, Obi, West Clarksville, Richburg, Little Genesee, Bolivar, Allentown, Wellsville, Scio and Wellsville before returning to Belmont, with a loop in Wellsville to serve shopping centers and at least two apartment complexes.

Green said the route will include two trips daily, so round trips are possible, and will have connecting points where several routes will cross.

The County Legislature voted last fall to contract with Progressive to create Allegany County Transit and subsidize the service at about $400,000 per year.

Basic fare, point-to-point on a route, will be $1, Green said, with those having disabilities paying 50 cents.

Green said he expects to have schedules, listing stops and approximate times available throughout the county next week. He hopes to have them distributed in stores, public libraries and at other sites where people are likely to see and pick them up.

Buses will run Monday through Friday.

Routes and schedules will also allow riders to make connections with other bus services in Cattaraugus and Steuben counties, he said.

The service will be a boon for the county's senior population, said Office for the Aging Director Kim Toot.

She said her office has already received calls from potential riders.

"There's a segment of the population eagerly awaiting" the bus' arrival, she said. "This will be a terrific asset."

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