Dec. 31—LOWVILLE — For the second time, a Lewis County bus has been sponsored to provide free transportation for New Years Eve riders from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. with 23 stops at nine locations in seven villages and towns.
The idea originated with a Lowville social group, the Emerging Professionals, in 2019 to support the gala they were holding at Tug Hill Vineyards under a "Roaring 20s" theme.
Community Development Program Specialist Samantha Brown, who leads on all initiatives relating to public transportation for the county Planning Department, said there were 35 riders that year.
The bus was put on hold along with New Year's Eve parties because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The "safe bus" is paid for through a grant from Lewis County's Stop DWI New York program, and rider fares will be paid for by the Emerging Professionals — whose gala is again at Tug Hill Estates with a "prom" theme this year — and Tom Spaulding State Farm Insurance out of Lowville.
Some county residents took exception to the bus in 2019 because the county was contributing $350 to a service that provided free rides for those drinking alcohol, causing legislators to decide to pull out their support at the last minutes, but the professionals covered the cost.
Some residents were also concerned that the bus would not stop drunk driving, because people would still drive to and from one of the bus' stops in order get a ride, making driving after partying still necessary after the bus, but Mrs. Brown said that is not what happened.
"There have been no negative outcomes in relation to the bus usage, as most passengers are within walking distance of their final destination, live along the route or they have arranged for a final night ride home," she said.
There were 35 riders during the bus' debut year.
Here is tonight's schedule:
8 p.m./10:20 p.m./1:25 a.m. — The Cottage Inn, Copenhagen
8:20 p.m./10:40 p.m./1:45 a.m. — Crossroads Tavern, Castorland
8:35 p.m./10:50 p.m./2 a.m. — American Legion, Croghan
8:50 p.m./11:10 p.m. — Dollar General, Lowville
9 p.m./10:10 p.m./11:20 p.m./1:10 a.m. — Tug Hill Estate, Lowville
9:15 p.m./12 a.m. — Elks Club, Lowville
9:30 p.m./12:15 a.m. — Wicked Bad Apple — Glenfield
9:40 p.m./12:30 a.m. — Boondocks Restaurant — Lyons Falls
9:50 p.m./12:40 a.m. — Towpath Restaurant — Turin