News

May 22, 2015

Survey Results Indicate Broad Community Support for Lakes Region Bus

A survey of over 400 Lakes Region residents, conducted by the Greater Portland Council of Governments and The Opportunity Alliance this spring, found that three out of four people support funding a portion of the bus’s operations with local taxpayer money. One in six respondents noted that the lack of a vehicle, or reliable access to transportation, can be a barrier to employment for them.

– A survey of over 400 Lakes Region residents, conducted by the Greater Portland Council of Governments and The Opportunity Alliance this spring, found that three out of four people support funding a portion of the bus’s operations with local taxpayer money. One in six respondents noted that the lack of a vehicle, or reliable access to transportation, can be a barrier to employment for them.

“I don’t want to lose this valuable service – even if I don’t use it often now,” wrote one respondent, “the idea of not having the option is not acceptable. We need public transportation and the ridership numbers will go up as the service grows.”

The Lakes Region Bus began service in November of 2013 and is operated by the Regional Transportation Program (RTP). The bus currently makes four round trips each weekday from Naples to Portland along Route 302 with stops in each community along the way. For the bus schedule and fare information, visit http://rtprides.org/lake-region-bus/

To get the service up and running, RTP paid for the initial operations with state and federal grants at no cost to the communities. To continue the service, RTP has asked the five Lakes Region towns along the route – Bridgton, Casco, Naples, Raymond and Windham – to help pay for a portion of the bus’s annual operating expenses ($9,656 for each community; or roughly 10% of the bus’s annual expenses). Without a contribution from each community, RTP may not be able to continue the service past June 30th, 2015. All five towns are considering a contribution to the bus in their 2015-2016 budgets.

At the request of Opportunity Alliance, GPCOG conducted a survey with two components: a Community Survey and an On-Board Ridership Survey. The Community Survey sought to determine if the bus is a service people value and whether or not residents support funding a portion of the bus’s annual expenses with municipal dollars. The survey also aimed to learn more about individual transportation needs in the region. The On-Board Ridership Survey provides insight into who currently rides the bus, why, and how they are using it. To read the full report on the survey, visit http://www.gpcog.org/transportation-land-use/transit/lakesregionbus/

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