Community Connector riders, bus drivers, clergy, and concerned citizens rallied together outside city hall yesterday to express their concerns over the City of Bangor’s decision to close the Odlin Rd. bus route. Following the rally, community members attended a 2:00 pm public forum held by Bangor City Council on the route closure.
“People rely on this bus service for work and other important services, ” said City Councilman Joe Baldacci. “What I proposed to the city manager today was to come up with the $4,000 to fund the route for two additional months – until November 1st. During that time we need to work with the affected businesses and workers to come up with a longer term public/ private solution.”
The Odlin route, which opened fifteen months ago, was the result of a five-year petition campaign by Bangor residents living on Odlin Road and Outer Hammond Street. The Odlin route serves primarily low-income working people who are struggling to overcome poverty.
The bus makes a major difference to hundreds of workers and the businesses where they work. There are few other transportation options for those living in this region.
“It’s a vital transportation link for hundreds of workers and the businesses where they are employed,” said Baldacci. “I’m even willing to forego my City Council salary for one year, which comes to $2,000, to help keep this important bus route up and running.
The city has cited their goal of saving roughly $20,000 dollars as the primary reason for closing the route. The shut down of the bus route has been proposed even though ridership has steadily increased.