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Essex Co. reopens some bus routes

ELIZABETHTOWN — Select Essex County bus routes have restarted service.

The three routes — Champlain South, Lake Placid and Mountain Valley — run through Crown Point, Elizabethtown, Keene, Lake Placid, Moriah, Saranac Lake, Westport and Wilmington with stops at shopping plazas, pharmacies and retail stores.

The Champlain South route restarted service on Monday, Aug. 31 with two trips per day on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, according to the Essex County Transportation Department. The Lake Placid route restarted service on Tuesday, Sept. 1 with two trips per day on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The Mountain Valley route — Wednesdays only — started on Sept. 2.

All of the bus routes are open to essential travel only, and on a reservation-only basis, according to the department. Capacity on each bus will be limited to reduce the risk of coronavirus spread. All riders will be required to wear a mask at all times and at each stop.

Riders are being asked to reserve their bus seats by noon on the day before each trip.

More information on the bus routes is available at www.co.essex.ny.us/wp/transportation/#threeShoppers or by calling 1-800-914-9266. Riders who want to reserve seats can call that same phone number to do so.

Essex County canceled its ski shuttle services on March 15 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Service on the Lake Placid XPRSS, a trolley that runs through the village of Lake Placid, was canceled on March 16. The next day, the county canceled the rest of its bus routes.

Neighboring Franklin County also canceled its bus routes in March. But while Franklin County began restarting its routes in June — including a commuter run to Lake Placid — Essex County lawmakers were more hesitant to do so.

Essex County Manager Dan Palmer said in August that the county would likely take a phased approach to reopening with a few routes at a time.

“We’re concerned about public transit, mixing populations — the elderly with other populations. At this point, we’re not intending to open fully right away,” he said on Aug. 3. “We don’t want to put people at risk. No one is convinced we’re out of the danger zone yet.”