LOWVILLE Several Lewis County youths took the countys maiden Birnie Bus Service voyage to Old Forge with much greater ridership expected when daily trips begin this weekend.
Birnie is getting calls almost every day for information on where the bus is stopping, said Leah M. Schneider, the countys mobility manager.
Six youths on Saturday took a bus from Lowville to Old Forge for employee orientation at Enchanted Forest/Water Safari theme park, while seven made the return trip, Mrs. Schneider said.
She expects many other local youths who drove to the park for orientation or were taken there by their parents will use the regular bus service, which begins Saturday.
I really think its going to be successful, Mrs. Schneider said.
As part of the countys public transit system, Birnie will make daily bus runs through Labor Day weekend to accommodate summer workers and tourists going to the Herkimer County resort town from Lewis County.
The round trip will cost $1 per person, although riders may travel one way.
Passengers will be expected to have the exact change per trip, 50 cents out and 50 cents back, Mrs. Schneider said. The drivers will have limited change.
A bus is to leave from Lowville Plaza at 7:45 a.m. each day, then stop at the Howard G. Sackett Technical Center in Glenfield at 8 a.m., the Edge Hotel in Lyons Falls at 8:20 a.m. and Lock 96 store in Port Leyden at 8:30 a.m. It will then head up Moose River Road and Route 28 to Old Forge, arriving at Enchanted Forest at about 9:30 a.m.
The return trip will begin a half-hour after the park closes.
Enchanted Forest throughout the summer opens at 9:30 or 10 a.m., but closing times vary from 4 to 7 p.m.
Area residents need only show up at a bus stop at the allotted time to use the service, Mrs. Schneider said.
Parking will be available at each of the stops, but bus riders will be asked to avoid spots close to the business entrances, saving them for regular patrons, she said.
By opening the rides to the public, the county can use state Department of Transportation money to help subsidize the trips and incur no local cost for the service.
According to Mrs. Schneider, roughly 75 Lewis County residents applied for positions at Enchanted Forest/Water Safari and its three related businesses: Calypsos Cove, Old Forge Camping Resort and Waters Edge Inn.
If ridership exceeds the 40-passenger limit, a second run could be added, she said.
There has also been some interest in the service from Boonville-area residents, but there are no immediate plans to go into that northern Oneida County village, Mrs. Schneider said.
Its our first time, and Im sure there will be bumps in the road, literally, she said.
Officials at Enchanted Forest and Birnie, including Lowville Terminal Manager Melissa L. Kenealy, have been instrumental in helping to make the Old Forge service feasible and usable, Mrs. Schneider said.
The county transit system started in July 2009 through a cooperative effort with Birnie. It includes seven runs into Lowville from various sites throughout the county, a loop around Lowville on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Birnie also operates a bus route twice a week between Utica and the Dollar General store on North State Street.