Addition routes allows return bus service from BurlingtonBy Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | April 25,2013Getting from Rutland to Burlington by bus has been possible for several years, but a state grant will soon make it possible to get back.
Connections between Rutland and Middlebury have made trips to Burlington possible for several years, but scheduling has only allowed a passenger to get back as far as Middlebury on the same day. A state grant will change that, adding midweek service and a Saturday run to the Rutland-Middlebury line.
“It won’t, I believe, accommodate a commuter, but a person who wants to do it occasionally can do it,” said Marble Valley Regional Transit District executive director Minga Dana. “We’ll see what requests we get.”
The Burlington connection will not be a regular run, according to Addison County Transit Resources spokeswoman Nadine Barnicle, but passengers will be able to arrange, with a couple of days notice, for rides back to Rutland from Middlebury after arriving from Burlington
“We take enough of those calls, we’re asking for some funds to check it out, try offering something,” she said. “It’s a cost-effective way to measure it, rather than adding another run.”
Each of the two districts will receive $33,884 a year for three years to expand the commuter service between Rutland and Middlebury. The commuter runs launched in 2006.
“When we first started this service, there was no midday service and it was Monday through Friday,” Dana said. “It worked very well.”
So well, she said, that in 2008, midday runs were added Tuesdays and Fridays.
“People could come in for half a day to have a doctor’s appointment or grocery shop and not be here all day long,” she said.
Dana said the service is expected to total 8,500 one-way trips by the end of the fiscal year in June.
After numerous requests, Dana said, the grant will take the midday service to five days a week and add runs between Rutland and Middlebury on Saturdays.
“I’m thinking commuters on a Saturday may be later, or they may not be commuters,” she said. “They may be people who want to shop or do something different.”
Proposed schedules will be made available on the two organizations’ websites, actr-vt.org and thebus.com. Public hearings on the schedules are planned for 5:30 p.m. May 6 at Mary Hogan Elementary School in Middlebury, 5:30 p.m. May 7 at the Rutland Free Library and 5:30 p.m. May 13 at the Brandon Senior Center.
Rides can be arranged by calling 388-1946 at least 48 hours in advance.
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