Plan to expand bus service on turnpike unveiled
Portland, Maine (NEWS CENTER)
Imagine being able to commute by bus from Augusta, Lewiston and Kennebunk to downtown Porltand? That's the goal of an ambitious new transplan unveiled Thursday.
The Maine Alliance for Sustainable Transportation or MAST wants to expand the routes and hours the Zoom Turnpike Express. The service is run by the Maine Turnpike Authority. Currently it operates ten round trips weekdays during rush hour between Biddeford, Saco and Portland.
MAST wants the Turnpike Authority to allocated three million dollars from it's planned turnpike widening project in Portland to expand the service from Augusta, Lewiston-Auburn to Portland and south to park and ride lots in Kennebunk and Wells. MTA says that money won't be available until 2018 and studies don't support bus service to that park of the turnpike corridor.
'Preliminary findings are that that the actual corridor for the need for that type of service is between Portland and Bath and Brunswick,' said Scott Tompkins spokesman for the MTA.
'It's time for the 21st century and to get on the ball and have a massive shift in terms in how we move about this state and that involved a reallocation of funding towards mass transit,' said Jane West of MAST.
MTA says ZOOM's ridership dropped 18 percent over the past year after peaking in 2008 due to high gasoline prices.