BRATTLEBORO -- Connecticut River Transit held a public hearing Friday to discuss proposed route changes and possible changes in how the company sells its prepaid tokens.

Randy Schoonmaker, Deerfield Valley Transit Authority general manager, met with a small crowd for about an hour to talk about how the transit company hopes to tighten up its operations in the coming year to save money.

Deerfield Valley Transit Authority signed a one-year management contract to run CRT while CRT determines how it will replace the general manager who left last year.

Connecticut River Transit has to hold public meetings before voting on the proposed changes, due to federal and state grant requirements, and Schoonmaker said Friday's meeting was scheduled to meet those requirements

The Connecticut River Transit board is considering eliminating discounted bulk token sales, which costs the company almost $5,000 a year.

CRT sells $27 worth of tokens for $20.

Schoonmaker said the company is talking about making bulk token sales available to individuals who receive state assistance, but eliminating the bulk sales to the general public.

He said that idea was still under consideration and CRT does not yet have a proposal to consider.

The town of Brattleboro provides about $53,000 in local funding for the town bus routes, and while Schoonmaker said it was hard to determine just how much the Brattleboro service costs, because it is a part of a regional network, the local funding does not cover the costs of running the bus service through Brattleboro.

According to data Schoonmaker released at Friday's meeting, the three Brattleboro routes cost about $359,000 to operate, and include about 113,000 miles in a year.

Randy Schoonmaker, from Connecticut River Transit, leads a public meeting on proposed schedule and token sale changes in Brattleboro Friday. (Howard
Randy Schoonmaker, from Connecticut River Transit, leads a public meeting on proposed schedule and token sale changes in Brattleboro Friday. (Howard Weiss-Tisman/Reformer)

About 57,000 rides were taken on the Brattleboro bus routes last year.

"I wish we had more money," Schoonmaker said. "Our strict funding always makes us take a fresh look at how we do things."

All of the proposed changes to the Brattleboro service will be considered, and voted on, by the CRT Board of Directors.

CRT is also looking at al of its bus routes in an effort to cut down on expenses and eliminate routes that are not popular. The transit company wants to eliminate three Saturday routes to WalMart in Hinsdale.

Along with the token and schedule changes, Schoonmaker said the company was considering updating its marketing plan. CRT has not had an updated brochure in years and Schoonmaker said there should be a new brochure within the next month or so.

He said the company hopes to clean the bus stops and possibly do a bulk mailing of the new brochures.

The company also might ask the state for money for electronic fare boxes which would allow customers to get on the bus with a swipe of card..

Most of the comments Friday related to schedules and wait times in making connections.

Schoonmaker said the company was always looking at how the bus routes were scheduled and trying to improve service for all riders.

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 279, or hwtisman@reformer.com. Follow Howard on Twitter @HowardReformer.