December 14, 2017
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No plan yet after Hampden’s Saturday bus run cut

By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff
Nok-Noi Ricker | BDN | BDN
Nok-Noi Ricker | BDN | BDN
Joyce Rankin (left) who petitioned to get Saturday bus service in town several years ago, rides the bus last year.

BANGOR, Maine — More than two weeks after the final Saturday Community Connector bus run from downtown Hampden to the public bus transfer station in Pickering Square, there is no plan in place to serve riders of that route, which is part of a 10-route network serving Greater Bangor.

Hampden town councilors voted 4-3 last month to eliminate Saturday bus runs in town, which cost about $16,000 a year to provide. If the city of Bangor wanted to resume Saturday service from the Hampden line to the Pickering Square depot it would have to do so itself.

“But there’s no money in the budget,” Laurie Linscott, Community Connector bus superintendent, said Monday.

Despite supporters’ efforts to preserve it, Linscott said that she has not received any complaints about the elimination of the Hampden route’s Saturday runs since the final one on Aug. 1.

“I was surprised,” Linscott said.

During budget discussions last spring, Hampden town councilors discussed possible alternatives, including contractual arrangements with other transportation providers. Such a proposal, however, has yet to come to fruition.

Linscott said earlier that the Community Connector is looking for ways to serve the part of the run within Bangor’s city limits but noted that Bangor’s budget, which took effect on July 1, does not include the funding needed to do that this year.

The Hampden council’s vote to end Saturday service came after two required public hearings were conducted, one in Hampden and the other at City Hall in Bangor.

During the hearings, supporters of the Saturday run said they depend on it to get to work, run errands, shop and do a number of other things.

Opponents said the weekend public bus service is too costly for the number of people using it and that Hampden taxpayers are footing the bill for a route located mostly in Bangor and used, they believe, largely by nonresidents.

 


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