First Transit releases new bus schedule amid hardships

NORWICH – Two months after statewide changes in Medicaid transportation forced the First Transit bus company to alter its routes and subsequently announce layoffs, the company has revealed new fixed routes to continue services in Chenango County.

First Transit had previously faced uncertainty due to changes at the state level for non emergency transportation for people on Medicaid. The New York State Department of Health announced in 2010 that it would assume administrative management of non emergency transportation for all counties in the state and has since required that a private Medicaid brokerage system be implemented in each region of the state.

Since the state contracted the Central Region – including Chenango County – with a Syracuse-based public transportation company called Medical Answering Services, First Transit has lost ridership and revenue. Medical Answering Services refers Medicaid to taxi and ambulance providers in the region, many of which are outside Chenango. This means First Transit, a private company, no longer receives state reimbursement for transport of Medicaid patients who make up a bulk of its riders.

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