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Centro to begin daily bus route to Syracuse Airport

Ellen Abbott
WRVO Public Media File Photo

A growing airport and changing work habits prompted Centro to start an experimental bus service to Hancock International Airport in Syracuse.

There used to be a direct bus route to the airport back in the early 2000s. But it was never really successful, according to Centro spokesman Steve Koegel, so it stopped. But as the airport has grown in recent years, a need has returned.

"Service to the airport is probably the number one request that we get to provide service to a location that we currently don't serve," Koegel said.

So Centro has decided to redesign its Mattydale bus route, to include stops at the airport several times a day. Koegel expects it to primarily be used by some of the 2,500 people who work at the airport.

“We've heard anecdotal stories of individuals who are spending about $80 a day on transportation costs with Uber and Lyft to get to and from work," Koegel said. "We know there definitely is a market for some individuals to use public transportation to get to their job.”

Koegel said the bus company, which still hasn’t regained pre-pandemic ridership, needs to deal with a changing economy, where more people are working from home.

"Some of the traditional transit services that we provide to get people to and from jobs have to shift," Koegel said. "We have to really focus on jobs where people physically have to be there to perform their job. You cannot load a plane from your home."

This is a trial service and will be re-evaluated in six months before becoming a permanent route for the bus company. There will be 13 daily round trips with the first arriving at the airport at 5:32 a.m. and the last bus leaving the airport around 7 p.m.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.