FORT KENT, Maine — An Old Town-based bus line that has been offering service to the St. John Valley in Aroostook County since November 2008 is discontinuing the route in April because of decreased ridership.
Mike Cyr, co-owner of Cyr Bus Lines in Old Town, said Monday that the deluxe motor coach charter and school bus company will continue passenger service to The County, but no longer will go past Caribou.
The bus line no longer will travel to Fort Kent, Madawaska or Van Buren.
“We have been offering service to the St. John Valley for about 2½ years,” Cyr said. “But we just aren’t getting the riders to do it anymore. On average, we are only seeing two people per day. Sometimes we get 10, but the majority of the time there is one or two.”
Cyr said that it has nothing to do with the price of gas.
“Normally, when the price of gas goes up, we see more riders,” he said. ”But that isn’t true in this case”
The bus left Fort Kent at 4:30 a.m. daily, made stops in Madawaska and Van Buren and was in Bangor by 11 a.m. The return trip left Bangor at 6:30 p.m., made stops in Madawaska and Van Buren and was back in Fort Kent at 12:30 a.m.
Cyr said he has not heard any complaints from St. John Valley residents or other riders about the change, which was announced in February and takes effect on April 4. He said he had heard someone had written a letter to the editor of the local weekly newspaper complaining about the move, but he said that he had not personally heard any complaints.
“I’m very disappointed,” June Cyr of Madawaska told the St. John Valley Times earlier this month. Cyr was involved in getting the bus service extended to the Valley in 2008.
But Evelyn Cyr, another Madawaska resident, who was shopping at the Aroostook Centre Mall in Presque Isle on Monday, said she had never ridden the bus, though she knew others who had. Still, she did not think that the company’s decision would be too detrimental.
“I never see very many people on it,” she said. “It is just such a long ride. Most people who live up here have a car, anyway, because it is such a rural area.”
Monique Levesque, who lives in Van Buren and also was shopping in Presque Isle on Monday, agreed.
“I don’t know anyone who has ever used the bus service,” she said Monday. “I don’t think it will impact us too badly up here.”