Anthony Edwards / Staff FILE Photo
Rutland City’s downtown transit center will see more buses pulling in with the start of service to White River Junction and Burlington.
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — Bus service in the region will be bolstered this summer when area bus companies add or expand services with the help of federal grants.
Advance Transit recently secured grant money to add a second bus to its Green Route, which primarily serves the Route 5 corridor from White River Junction to Hanover, N.H., and includes Hartford Village and West Lebanon, N.H. With the addition, buses on the route will run every 30 minutes instead of hourly.
Additionally, Vermont Translines, based in Milton, has announced the start today of daily, round-trip bus service along the Route 4 corridor from Rutland to Lebanon, with multiple Upper Valley stops. Also starting today is bus service from Burlington to Albany, N.Y. via Bennington and Rutland. Both routes are currently unserved.
Rutland to Upper Valley
Today, a Vermont Translines coach bus, which offers individual seats, a bathroom and Wi-Fi, will begin offering daily, round-trip service between Rutland and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center’s campus off Route 120, said Randy Charlebois, general manager and vice president of Vermont Translines.
The bus is scheduled to depart Rutland at 10:30 a.m. and make nine stops, including Mendon and Killington as well as the Upper Valley locations of Bridgewater, Woodstock, Quechee, White River Junction and Hanover, before reaching DHMC at 12:30 p.m.
It will depart the hospital at 2:35 p.m. and is scheduled to return to Rutland at 4:35 p.m., with stops at the same points on the way back.
“We are hoping to be able to connect different people from different communities and meet their needs so that they have a means of transportation that is affordable,” Charlebois said.
“It will also be eco-friendly and reliable, and we don’t feel like (potential riders) have that today.”
The company created the new bus line with two main purposes in mind: To provide a service to those who lack means of transportation and to connect travelers with other bus systems in Vermont and New Hampshire.
A round-trip ticket from Rutland to White River Junction will cost $22, while a round-trip ticket from Rutland to Lebanon will run $26. All ticket prices are based on mileage.
A prior study suggested 12 passengers a day would use the service, though that number is expected to increase over time, Vermont Translines Assistant Manager Chip Desautels said.
“There is tremendous excitement about having these connections,” Desautels said.
Roughly a decade ago, Vermont Transit offered bus service along the Route 4 corridor, Charlebois said, but the route has been dormant for some time. This line will help restore that missing link, he said.
Burlington to Albany
Also today, Vermont Translines, a subsidiary of Premier Coach, which bills itself as Vermont’s “largest charter service provider for motorcoach,” will launch a new line along Route 7 from Burlington to Albany, N.Y., Charlebois said.
Like Advance Transit, the company’s route expansions are being paid for by a federal grant — roughly $400,000 over two years — that was awarded through the state Agency of Transportation.
Roughly $100,000 of the grant will go toward operating the Rutland-Lebanon route, while the remainder will subsidize the Route 7 service.
Once Advance Transit and Vermont Translines grant funding ends, officials said, they hope to secure additional funding to assist with continued operation of the services.
More information including schedule details and instructions on how and where to purchase tickets is available at www.connectingcommuters.org/bus or by calling 1-800-685-RIDE.
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