The school district, town, village and local BOCES unit may collaborate to build a shared transportation facility.But this idea really needs to be taken further because there is a customer already looking for a transportation facility: CENTRO.
The effort reflects an opportunity to consolidate services and facilities, Superintendent of Schools Daniel Gilligan said Monday.
“Rather than everyone building their own, we should share one,” Gilligan said as the Board of Education passed a resolution that could help further the project.
Other potential partners: Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES and the town and village of New Hartford.
CENTRO wants to consolidate its bus maintenance facility for both its Utica and Rome-based fleets. The City of Utica has voiced some reluctance to having it in downtown Utica -- not thinking that it would fit with the City's plans for downtown. The Mayor proposed that it be located between Utica and Rome. That seems to make sense. . . and that seems to make New Hartford's proposal for a facility on Middle Settlement Road a perfect fit for CENTRO as well.
Location aside, there are other obvious benefits:
(1) CENTRO'S expertise. The local bus system seems to have gotten a boost by the boys (and girls) from Syracuse. Something sorely lacking in almost all school districts, no matter how handsomely compensated the superintendent, is a business sense for running operations. Although CENTRO is subsidized, it competes for passengers against taxis and private automobiles. It has to make those fares it collects go as far as possible to survive. Integrating school transportation with a professionally run public transit system would seem to lead to both cost savings and increased customer satisfaction.
(2) Educational Opportunity. A facility co-located with BOCES would seem to tailor-make an opportunity for training mechanics much like MVCC's aircraft maintenance training facility already does at Griffiss. Students would not only learn about nuts and bolts, but they would have a chance to learn about the transportation business as well.
Location, Expertise, and Education . . . Adding CENTRO to the mix would seem a natural fit.