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Officials mull bus service from Concord to Manchester airport

The state Department of Transportation is working with lawmakers to consider offering a shuttle service from Concord to Manchester’s airport.

State Sen. Sylvia Larsen said she asked state officials to explore the idea because it’s difficult to get from Concord to the Manchester Boston Regional Airport.

“It’s really easier to go to Logan airport (in Boston) right now by public transit than it is to get yourself to the Manchester airport – and it might be cheaper,” she said.

Larsen and other lawmakers will meet with transportation officials today about a potential bus route. The state could eventually apply for a federal grant to fund the bus service, said Mark Sanborn, federal liaison for the state Department of Transportation. But if plans move forward, he warned it could be years before the bus service begins.

“We’re in the very preliminary stages,” Sanborn said. “There’s no proposed service. This is the first conversation of many that need to take place for there to eventually be a service.”

Lawmakers proposed the idea after a recent meeting included talk of a new bus service from the Seacoast to the airport in Manchester, said Larsen, a Concord Democrat.

“So when we were approving it, I said, ‘Is there any chance we could have the same company make a run up to Concord?’ ” she said.

Sanborn said the state received a federal grant through a congestion mitigation and air quality program to fund the Seacoast shuttle, which was contracted out to a private company and will begin this summer. The route, called the east-west bus service, will make 20 daily trips with stops in Portsmouth, Epping, downtown Manchester and the Manchester airport.

Plans for the east-west bus service began six years ago with a feasibility study, Sanborn said. To receive federal grant money, he said the state had to prove the bus route would relieve congestion and improve air quality by reducing the number of cars on the road.

It’s not clear whether a bus service from Concord to Manchester would be eligible for a similar grant, Sanborn said.

“What type of service the communities would like to see happen will dictate what funding sources it will be eligible for,” he said.

Larsen said she thinks there could be enough demand for a bus service between Concord and the Manchester airport. Travelers can currently take buses from “the northern parts of our state down I-93 and come to Concord, but then if they want to go to the airport, you can’t,” she said.

Public transportation from the airport could also attract businesses to New Hampshire, Larsen said.

“I see that Manchester airport as a very strong economic development tool for our state,” she said.

(Laura McCrystal can be reached at 369-3312 or or on Twitter @lmccrystal.)

Legacy Comments8

I guess the democrats have not heard that their out of control spending has run us into $1.4 TRILLION annual deficits

Concord Trailways stops in downtown Manchester at the station there. I would assume, if they thought they could make a profit by going to Manchester Airport, they would. Manchester Airport is a terrific airport. There are reasons why folks go to Logan. Manchester is small and only has a few airlines . With less airlines comes less routes. With less airlines comes high ticket prices. With less airlines comes fewer non stops. Small airports are limited in what they can offer the traveler. I always try to fly out of Manchester for it's convience. I end up flying out of Logan. The difference in cost of ticket, makes it cheaper for me to fly out of Logan. And I am not talking saving 50 bucks. More times are offered at Logan and direct flights. Simple as that.

I don't know how excited the average citizen would be about this, but by subsidizing cheap bus service to Boston Logan airport, we have inadvertently encouraged NH residents to bypass our homegrown airport and send themselves and their money to Boston. Our airport and nearby businesses are suffering as Logan airport sets passenger records. It is inexcusable for us to provide economic support for people to bus to Logan without asking those buses to stop at Manchester airport along the way. Will it really take years to get buses now coming from Concord and Lebanon to stop at our airport as they head down to Logan? A new east-west route may take time, but why delay the buses that now pass our airport every day?

The point is that we should not be "subsidizing" any transportation, period. Look at the local transport. I was at Wal-Mart and it dropped off one person then went back to Main Street. How does that make sense?

It makes sense because that rider does not have a vehicle. Your example of one incident proves nothing. Don't you think that the highways you drive on are subsidized? How about the airports? The auto makers that took the bail outs? Bus service for people with limited income makes a huge difference in whether someone can get to a medical appointment or to one's job.

You have GOT to be kidding me, Manchester Airport is hard to get to? This is a glaring example of how progressives just can't stop finding ways to waste money. DOT is going to run it? What will the program be called Safe Routes to the Airport? They will need a ne're-do-well coordinator who single tasks and collects a check and a bloated staff to give 5 people per day a ride to the airport. Where does Larsen get the idea that a shuttle will bring business to the Granite State. As if companies are lining up saying: "NH has a shuttle service between Manchester and Concord, let's relocated there". Politicians are not business professionals and honestly, they don't possess much common sense either.

As usual, ignoring who uses MHT and who uses BOS airports. Not about which airport is closer by the way. A round trip to NYC from Manchester costs $699 round trip. A round trip from Bos to NYC costs $259. That amounts to a savings of $446. Why would anybody fly to NYC out of MHT? I could hire a car to take me to Boston and still save money, or take a bus to Logan. Manchester has fewer flights, and the prices for those flights are off the charts. Even for an hour trip to NYC. Not only does MHT charge more for a flight to NYC, they have less of them that are non stop.

The price difference may be greater in short flights, such as to NYC. With longer flights, I have found that BOS offers more choices but if flights are delayed, I would rather come into MHT at 2am than into BOS.

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