Bus service to begin from Concord to Manchester airport
Bus service between Concord and the Manchester airport will begin this summer.
The weekday service will include 12 daily trips between the bus station on Stickney Avenue in Concord and the Manchester Boston Regional Airport, with a stop at Manchester’s Veterans Park. Passengers will pay $4 for a day pass.
The one-year program, funded by the Manchester Transit Authority and state toll credits, was approved unanimously yesterday by the Capital Budget Overview Committee. It is scheduled to begin in July.
“It’s going to help the airport, and it’s good for the regional economy,” said Sen. David Boutin, a Hooksett Republican.
Boutin has been working since January with Sen. Sylvia Larsen and Rep. Candace Bouchard, both Concord Democrats, to launch the bus service.
As the state approved a federal grant for a shuttle between the airport and the Seacoast, they hoped to provide a similar service from Concord.
The one-year program will cost $160,000, according to a letter from Department of Transportation Commissioner Christopher Clement. The Manchester Transit Authority offered $80,000 in available federal funding to run the program, and yesterday’s committee vote approved a required state match of $80,000 in toll credits.
“It’s really exciting news,” Larsen said after yesterday’s meeting. “Sometimes it takes forever to make anything happen, but I have to say I’m really thrilled that this has been approved.”
As the one-year pilot begins, the Department of Transportation is working with the central and southern New Hampshire regional planning commissions to conduct a feasibility study for a long-term bus route.
“They say the feasibility study will be done within nine months,” Larsen said. “So we’ll have some answers in time for the one-year deadline, and they’ll judge its feasibility.”
Boutin said officials hope to make a seamless transition between the pilot program and a permanent service.
The airport has offered to provide marketing for the bus service, Boutin said, and airport Director Mark Brewer submitted a letter to the state in support of the program.
“Unfortunately too often, air travelers from the Concord area use Boston Logan International Airport instead of their local airport because of the lack of public ground transit options,” Brewer wrote.
Seven of the 12 daily trips will stop at Veterans Park in Manchester, and five will travel nonstop between Concord and the airport.
Buses will leave Concord as early as 3:55 a.m. and continue until midnight. Larsen said the routes were timed with airline schedules.
The schedules were also coordinated with Manchester Transit Authority’s routes between Nashua and Manchester, Boutin noted; passengers coming from Nashua can transfer buses at Veterans Park to reach the airport.
A day pass for the bus will cost $4, or $2 for passengers 65 and older or who show valid Medicare cards.
Concord Coach Lines, which owns the bus station at Stickney Avenue, will receive $1 for each ticket purchased in Concord, according to the Manchester Transit Authority’s proposal. Passengers can park for free at the bus station.