ROCHESTER - The region's public transit system will resumed nearly all Saturday services on its bus routes beginning last Saturday
Last summer COAST was forced to eliminate all Saturday services, before resuming a reduced Saturday service schedule in September. The addition of several new bus operators to the COAST team has made the return of these services possible.
"We are very happy to be back to near full staffing levels," said Rad Nichols, COAST Executive Director. "We know how important our Saturday service schedule is to all our riders, but particularly to employers and employees as we enter the busy summer tourist season. Just yesterday I was emailing back and forth with an area hotel that has 34 employees who will rely on our public transit system this summer to get to and from work," he added.
Specifics on the changes that went into effect on Saturday include:
- Routes 1, 12, 13, 14, 33, 34, and 41 will run on the same Saturday schedule as on weekdays.
- The Saturday version of Route 33 services the Dover Pool instead of the County Courthouse.
- Routes 40 and 43 in Portsmouth and Newington will run approximately every two hours on Saturdays.
- On weekdays Route 43 will also be adding a new inbound run at 1:30 and 3:30 pm, and a new outbound run at 3:00 pm.
When the COAST board of directors approved the FY23 operating budget, increases in operator pay and other potential enhancements to retain current and attract new staff were considered. "One of our primary goals was to address the issues we are having with attracting new bus operators to our staff," stated Michael Williams, Director of Operations. "In mid-November, we were able to announce exciting improvements in both pay and the costs of benefits that took effect in January. The results - we are closer to fully staffed than we have been in years."