MIDDLETOWN – Senator James Skoufis (D-Orange County) joined City of Middletown Mayor Joe Destefano for a free bus ride on Tuesday as part of the Senator’s latest effort to expand local transit access in Orange County.
Following the Senator’s wildly successful 2022 pilot program that provided free bus fares for all TransitOrange Newburgh-area routes during the winter months, resulting in a 138% jump in ridership over the same period the previous year, he successfully secured $60,000 in state funding to bring a similar program to Middletown this year. The funding, distributed via the Department of Transportation, will allow the county to provide free rides now through approximately April 30, 2024.
Routes covered by the program are:
Route 1 – Highland Ave/Tall Oaks/Summitfield/Community Campus
Route 2 – David Moore Hts/ShopRite (Dolson Ave)/Middlecrest Crossing/Amchir/OCCC
Route 3 – Walmart/Galleria/Crystal Run Healthcare/Orange Regional Medical Center
Route 4 – Senior Way/Aldi/ShopRite (211)/Price Chopper
“At a time when many families are struggling to make ends meet, I’m delighted to provide this free access to Middletown-area bus transit,” said Skoufis. “No matter their financial situation or how nasty the weather gets, folks still need to be able to get to appointments, visit friends and family, and stay connected. Our success in Newburgh last year proved there’s hunger for expanded public transportation access, and Middletown’s program could serve as a pilot for expanded access all year round.”
“I am acutely aware of the challenges that our residents face when the winter season arrives. The harsh weather conditions, icy roads, and frigid temperatures can make daily tasks such as doctor visits, grocery shopping and other errands particularly difficult and sometimes even dangerous,” said DeStefano. “Senator Skoufis’ commitment to improving the quality of life for our residents is evident in his tireless efforts to secure this valuable service. I believe that access to free public transportation during the winter months will have a positive and lasting impact on our community, ensuring that everyone can navigate our city safely, comfortably and at no cost.”
Complete route details and schedules can be found at RideTransitOrange.com/Middletown. Riders will not be required to present identification or proof of residency to board.