The State of Transportation in Rural, Upstate New York: COVID-19’s Impact on Service

  • Author: NCMM Staff
  • Date: March 26, 2020
Image Credit: pstao, take me somewhere nice

NYSAMM (New York State Association for Mobility Management) is a collective voice for the multiple rural and small urban transportation agencies within Upstate NY.  Rural systems many times are forgotten, yet are just as critical to our communities.

The Pandemic’s Impact on Rural Transit

COVID-19 has devastated this vital community link with some areas completely suspending service. Coordination between local Human Services, transit, and volunteer transportation services are utilizing any still-functioning transportation services to get food and supplies to the impacted and vulnerable populations. Collectively, they are doing everything they still can to get people to critical services or have those services delivered. However, funds and human resources are stretched to critical breaking points.

Ultimately, of the 55 different agencies and organizations who have voluntarily provided information, they have reported the following:

  • 25% have suspended all service
  • 15% are providing critical service only
  • 33% have reduced service
  • 24% are reporting normal service
  • 3% is unknown

Of those self-reporting services, 22% have reported not charging fares for both the public safety of passengers and drivers as well as relieving financial hardships.

Needed Relief

Immediate operating funds are needed!  There is also a need for temporary delay of state/federal reporting regulations, such as quarterly formula grant requirements and annual reports. Mandatory drug and alcohol percentage testing is another example as it’s virtually impossible due to staffing shortages, and the inability of the labs and services which provide the service to administer the tests.

What is plentiful? Hope, mutual support and communication between the fabulous professionals that hold these systems together.  Our group has been utilizing their existing communication platform, Base Camp as well as personal networks to keep the communication going for quickly changing circumstances, best practices, and resources available. 


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