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Centro riders advocate for equitable public transportation

Charles Hudson (left) and his mother Agnes McCray at Syracuse's Centro Transit Hub, Feb. 7.
Abigail Connolly
Charles Hudson (left) and his mother Agnes McCray at Syracuse's Centro Transit Hub, Feb. 7.

During Transit Equity Week, organizations in New York state are hosting educational events to highlight the need for more funding for buses, trains, paratransit, and safe walking and bicycle infrastructure. Onondaga County community members are advocating for their regional transportation system.

Christopher Tuff, the deputy CEO of Centro, the Central New York Regional Transportation Authority, said more state funding would make things better for community members, including the ADA community.

“We want to make sure that they have the same availability,” Tuff said. “And as we see their increased demand, we want to make sure that we can support that and that’s part of what this funding will do. This is part of what we need to do as far as capital funding, if we need to increase our fleet size, we need the funds to make that available.”

Charles Hudson is a current OCC Student and home care worker for his mother. He said creating more accessible spacing on public buses would be a huge community help.

“There’s a lot of people with mobility devices, whether it’s a wheelchair, a scooter, and just having these extra spaces will be able to utilize more people getting onto the buses,” Hudson said.

Hudson’s mother, Agness McCray, is an Accessible Transportation Advisory Committee member and Centro bus rider. She said having access to public transportation is an everyday need for so many community members.

“To see so many people that ride the bus alongside me, it’s not a disability thing, it’s not a poor thing, it’s an everyday thing to progress,” McCray said.

McCray said Centro helps to connect the Syracuse community.

Onondaga County Legislator Maurice Brown says it is important to have conversations about the transit needs in the community.

“Transportation is not just a city issue, it’s not just a poor issue,” Brown said. “We all are in this together and if we all do a little we can get a lot done. I think that if we all work together we can truly have a robust transportation system that we can all be proud of.”

Tuff said Centro and other transportation centers are looking for an increase in the State Transit Operating Assistance funding.

“As we are seeing our customers coming back from the pandemic, there’s a need for more service and that funding is going to be key to supporting that,” Tuff said.

Abigail is a temporary WRVO News Reporter/Producer working on regional and digital news stories. She graduated from SUNY Oswego in 2022 where she studied English and Public Relations. Abigail enjoys reading, writing, exploring CNY and spending time with family and friends. Abigail first joined the WRVO team as a student reporter in June 2022.