WMTS completes ski season services

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Western Maine Transportation Services, in cooperation with the Maine Department of Transportation and local transit committees, municipalities and businesses has completed another successful season of its Explorer bus services.

Serving Bethel, Newry and the Sunday River Ski area with a route that runs between downtown Bethel and the ski area’s South Ridge lodge, the Mountain Explorer carried 30,122 passengers between Thanksgiving and the first weekend of April. This year the service received three new 24-seat buses and the service was streamlined to simplify the schedule.

“The feedback from this season has been very positive,” said Harold Allen, WMTS’s transportation supervisor. “What we heard was that the public thought the buses were safe, clean, reliable and on-time. This is what we were striving for and the numbers show we had good ridership, basically even with the 2007-2008 season.”

In Carrabassett Valley, the Sugarloaf Explorer, in its second season of operation, exceeded expectations. “Going in to the last weekend we were already above last year’s numbers, but carrying 154,797 riders from Thanksgiving to the middle of April was well beyond what we thought we would do,” said Sandy Buchanan, deputy manager of WMTS. The Sugarloaf Explorer service uses seven 24-passenger buses and three 16-passenger buses to service the condominium clusters and lodging surrounding the mountain.

The Explorer services were instituted to put Maine on an equal footing with other New England states which provide similar services to their ski areas, to reduce traffic and pollution and provide safe, reliable designated-driver transportation. All vehicles regularly used for these services are wheelchair accessible. The Mountain Explorer and Sugarloaf Explorer programs are funded by the municipalities served, local businesses, condominium associations and the MaineDOT.

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