Dover FastTrans Service Reductions

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Wednesday, May 30, 2011
Contact: Rad Nichols, Executive Director, COAST
603-743-5777

Dover, NH – When first envisioned the FastTrans set of public transit routes in the City of Dover were hoped to be operational for many years into the future. Three years after the project launched, the federal Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality (CMAQ) grant funds that helped get the project off the ground are now fully expended. In order to keep the current level of services, additional revenues in excess of $400K are needed to fill the gap in funding. At this point, there is significantly reduced availability of other federal funding to fill the revenue gap, a lack of any state funding and very limited local resources to continue and operate all of the Dover FastTrans services (Rtes. 33, 1/34 & 35). In response, COAST proposed a set of service adjustments that would allow the most heavily utilized aspects of the project to stay on the street.

Following a public comment period, the COAST Board of Directors voted unanimously last week to adopt the proposed changes.  While the number of public comments received was limited, the Board of Directors took all public input received into consideration before ultimately taking their vote. This is the first time COAST has been forced to reduce service levels since the late 1990s.

Rad Nichols, COAST Executive Director, stated “As an organization, and with our partners the City of Dover and Strafford County, we had to make tough decisions. Given the limited funds available, we undertook a comprehensive analysis of these services and worked very diligently to come up with a plan to maintain what is most in demand and highly valued by the community. The services that will remain have proven to be the most heavily ridden of what existing funds can support.”

As a result of the action taken by the COAST Board of Directors last week, the following reductions in service will take effect on Monday, June 25, 2012:

  • Routes 30, 31 & 32 (Dover North, West & South) - will all be discontinued as public bus routes. They will likely be operated in the future by a private school bus provider and funded by the Dover SAU.
  • Route 33 - comparable weekday service will remain between downtown and the Strafford County Complex. Service on Portland Ave., Henry Law Ave., Tennyson Ave., Court St., and on-call service on Oak St., Atlantic Ave., Grove St., Horne St. & St. Thomas St. will all be discontinued. CLICK HERE FOR THE ROUTE 33 MAP AND SCHEDULE BEGINNING 6/25/12
  • Routes 34 & 35 - all service will be discontinued.
  • The geographic coverage area for COAST’s ADA paratransit service will remain unchanged until Sept. 1, 2012. After that time, ADA service will be limited to ¾-mile from regularly operating routes. This accommodation is being made to give qualified individuals with disabilities more time to make alternative arrangements.

COAST hopes to be able to restore some of the discontinued routes in the future through the continued development of new revenue sources, such as public/private partnerships with local businesses. Such partnerships are increasingly important as the financial challenges at all levels of government continue.

Reauthorization of the federal surface transportation program may also play a key factor. After more than 970 days and nine extensions since the last federal surface transportation program officially expired (SAFETEA-LU), the lack of a new national transportation policy is making transportation planning and financing very challenging.

For more information on these pending service adjustments, visit www.coastbus.org or call the COAST office at (603) 743-5777.

The Cooperative Alliance for Seacoast Transportation (COAST) has provided public transit service to the Seacoast New Hampshire region since 1982. Over 11.5 million passengers have boarded COAST buses. COAST is a public, non-profit transit system that relies primarily on federal and local government support to operate.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ROUTE 33 MAP AND SCHEDULE BEGINNING 6/25/12