Advocacy for Non-Profits


 Putnam Independent Living Services On-Bus Community Survey

CARMEL, NY — According to a recent survey most of the people who use Putnam Area Rapid Transit don’t have a car and many consider the bus their lifeline. As one person said, “Without the bus I’m lost.”

Between March 1 and April 12, 2013 four Putnam Independent Living Services (PILS) volunteers rode Putnam Area Rapid Transit and Para buses to survey riders regarding how they use the transit system. Joe Bravo, Executive Director of PILS, knew that with the county transportation task force researching the transit system and the needs of business and tourism it was also time to look at who was riding the fixed route buses.

The volunteers, Judith Terlizzi, Louis Puleri, Kathy Macken and Elizabeth Castellano helped distribute the survey to bus riders, local food pantries, and social service organizations. With passes provided by Vincent Tamagna, Chairman, Putnam County Transportation Task Force, the volunteers rode buses on every route. Some routes were covered multiple times, at different times of the day and/or different days.

The volunteer’s prior experience with the bus system was invaluable. Macken and Castellano both use the Para transit buses. When Terlizzi was without a car for a year she used the fixed route buses on a daily basis to get to work, shopping – for all her transportation needs. Puleri is the father of a young woman with a disability who relies on PART to get to work and, her father says, to allow her to live independently. 

Two Carmel High School student volunteers worked with PILS Mobility Manager Lonna Kelly at the Putnam Plaza, a key stop for transfers, to complete additional surveys.

Two hundred and forty one surveys were completed by the due date. Eighty-five percent of the surveys were completed in English, 15% in Spanish.

Findings of the survey show that the individuals who use Putnam Area Rapid Transit (PART) are reliant on the bus system and do not have an alternative method of transportation. Bus riders use the system for employment, medical appointments and shopping but also for attending workshops, trainings, school and volunteering. Without adequate bus routes many of they would be unable to work or go about their daily activities. Although 48% reported a disability the majority of riders did not report a mobility restriction. With a median income of $18,200 their options are extremely limited.

PILS has provided the information to the county transportation task force. For additional information please contact Lonna Kelly at 845.228.7457.

Attached: Final Report PILS On-Bus Community Survey