The head of the union which represents BC Transit workers says privatizing the public transportation system could be detrimental to Broome County residents.

Bob Joseph/WNBF News

Peter Schiraldi, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1145, says turning the bus service over to a private operator could hurt the public. Broome County Executive Debra Preston said she's exploring ways bus service can be provided more efficiently in an effort to control escalating costs.

Speaking on WNBF Radio's Binghamton Now program, Schiraldi said when one upstate county privatized its bus operations, fares shot up 80 percent and some routes were cut.

Schiraldi said across the United States and Canada, private firms haven't delivered on the promises they've made to local governments when they've taken over public bus services.

The union leader said consideration should be given to creating a regional transportation authority for the Southern Tier. He said the establishment of such an authority could result in funding from the state that might lead to restoration of some service that's been cut.

Schiraldi would not comment on the contract negotiations going on between the union and Broome County.