Getting the people of the Captial District from place to place is a year-round job for the Capital District Transportation Authority and its 250 iconic buses. But when summer rolls around, it’s a whole other ballgame. As the region’s residents wind up for summertime fun, so does the authority. And this year, it’s adding a new service to its playbook.
CDTA’s summer trolley service has been a Saratoga Springs staple during the fair weather months, giving riders a chance to see all the highlights of the Spa City in a single tour. New for this year, though, the trolleys are being used to ferry Saratoga Performing Arts Center concert attendees to and from downtown.
The service has been used during the Dave Matthews Band, Rascal Flatts, Tom Petty and Phish concerts this year. Concertogers are availing themselves of the option to take the trolley, with about 200 riders for each of these inaugural shows, CDTA’s Margo Janack said.
“People seem to be catching on, because parking can be at a premium and it can be tough to get in and out,” she said. “It helps us out, it helps the riders and of course, it helps SPAC and Live Nation.”
The trolley is available for the standard fare of $1.50, departing and returning to Congress Park.
For those whose summer fun is found a bit further south, CDTA is continuing its special weekday summer service to Grafton Park this year. Through July and August, a special route will take riders from locations in Troy straight to the park for (you guessed it) just $1.50.
That service will be doubly appreciated by youngsters who take advantage of CDTA’s Summer Fun Youth Pass, available to those 17 and under. The pass is $30 and available at Mr. Subb locations or online, and the pass offers unlimited ridership on CDTA regular route service for all of July and August. It’s a $100 savings when compared to the cost of two regular, 7-day monthly “Swiper” passes.
“It’s a great deal if the youth are going to summer parks, or if they’re working a part-time job, they can get there by taking unlimited rides in July and August,” Janack said.
The program has been a success in the past, and for busy parents, it can mean summer salvation.
“They know that their child’s getting a safe, reliable ride,” Janack said.
Over the past year, CDTA has provided nearly 15.7 million rides. That’s a 20 percent increase that Janack attributed to new initiatives like the limited stop Bus Plus service (which is slated to be rolled out in more areas in the future) and expansion of the authority’s universal access program, which is being offered to more businesses in addition to universities.
The authority also wrapped up a five-year route restructuring last year that was preceded by gathering extensive public input.