Saturday, October 22, 2011

End of the line for Number Nine

Sign of the Times:

The venerable Number Nine lumbers along Whitehall Road in Albany on a warm October afternoon...

203 is a 2000 Orion VI CNG, originally CDTA 2027 from Albany. (Old CDTA buses are sometimes sold and shipped to other places, like Broome County)

Very soon, if I want to take the bus to work (or home from work), I will have to pay twice as much for a one-way trip that will take three times as long.

When an institution like Friendly's dries up and an icon like the US Postal Service's future is in doubt, it's no wonder we're seeing things disappear that we thought would always be there.

CDTA killing off bus Route #9 in Albany makes no sense. The demise of the Whitehall line leaves a large stretch of the city without convenient crosstownbus service.

Insiders tell me part of the reason #9 is being deleted because top officials have egg on their faces after extending Route #6 across Whitehall Road. Nobody rides #6 along Whitehall... empty bus after empty bus lumbers by every day... of course, folks headed downtown toward Delaware Avenue will now have no other choice but to take #6, which approaches downtown from a completely different direction, and goes nowhere near the Lark-Washington hub.

As a frequent rider on #9, I can tell you people DID ride the bus! The smart move would have been to cut back #9's hours of operation - run the line 6am-9am and 3pm-6pm. But, no... so the only way I could take the bus to work (a trip that used to take about 15 minutes) I would have to take the #6 on its roundabout route to downtown Albany, then pay an additional fare to catch another bus out of downtown up Central Avenue. (Sometimes you have to wait for those buses almost 20 minutes, and then they'll come in a bunch of three, sometimes four, and once last winter FIVE all at once!)

The thriving Whitehall Road line was crippled years ago when CDTA cut service: #9 used to run every 30 minutes in either direction. Before Partridge Street became one-way, Whitehall-Partridge would cross Woodlawn Avenue about two minutes before Whitehall-Morton would cross from the other direction. It was like clockwork, in a time before the GPS, the "green light holder" and the computer.

(left) A vintage 1938 Mack bus on an Albany-Troy run - many of these old Macks were in still in use thru the early 1950s...

I doubt anyone will ride CDTA's new "neighborhood" routes that don't really seem to go where people need to get to. I predict they will quietly die out within a year.

As Weird Al would say, "Another one rides the bus." NOT!

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