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Travel Talk

Travel Talk: Job well done on Concord-Manchester airport bus service!

Great travel news is rare indeed. That’s one of the reasons I’m thrilled to be writing about the scheduled bus service between Concord and the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport that will start July 1. This has potential to be a real game-changer for airport patrons – both departing and arriving – not to mention the airport itself and the capital region.

Equally remarkable, though, is how the service came about – through the hard (and bi-partisan!) work of New Hampshire state Sens. Sylvia Larsen and David Boutin and Rep. Candace Bouchard, the spot-on collaboration of several city and state agencies, and the serendipitous availability of federal funds, courtesy of the Manchester Transit Authority. And all this at warp speed for governmental deliberation and decision-making: under six months!

The Basics

Right now if you’re flying out of Manchester, you can drive your own car and use on-property or off-property parking, or you can hire private transportation, such as a limo, cab, shared ridership van or private car. But that’s about to change. Beginning July 1, you can take a regularly scheduled public bus service between the Concord Transportation Center (, 226-8888) on Stickney Avenue and Manchester Regional (, 624-6539).

There’ll be a quick stop on Elm Street (near the Radisson and Veterans Park) for pick-up and drop-off on the mid-day runs, but the schedule still gets you point-to-point in a little over 35 minutes. Fares are $4 each way, and just $2 for seniors 65+ or the disabled. The buses themselves will not be the usual Concord Coaches accommodating about 55 passengers; rather they will be smaller buses designed for about 30 passengers. The service will be funded for one year. Depending on ridership and possible funding factors, it will continue beyond 2014.

Connectivity, schedules

A big part of travel is about getting from one place to another efficiently. In Europe, planes, trains and buses are usually connected in a virtually seamless network of coordinated schedules. Here in the U.S.? Not so much. But the architects of this new service were indeed thinking beyond the American model.

There will be 12 Concord-MHT trips a day, beginning about 4 a.m. (that’s right, 4 a.m.!) and ending with a 12:15 a.m. return from the airport that rolls into Concord at 12:45 a.m. The schedule is designed to coordinate not only with the heaviest flight times in/out of the airport (imagine!), but thought has also been given to bus connections from other parts of the state – Nashua and Portsmouth, for example.

This type of scheduling makes Manchester Regional much more convenient for early/late flights than Boston’s Logan, where bus and flight schedules often work only for mid-day flights.

Keeping in the loop

People often tell me that they tend to cut out “Travel Talk” and save the tips, and this one is worth it. Heck, I’m going to post it on my own fridge! But watch the papers, too. The collaboration calls for the Manchester airport to advertise and raise public awareness, an exciting prospect for the folks there.

The scheduling will be the responsibility of the Manchester Transit Authority, or MTA (, 623-8801), which is posting information on its home page under “News/Events – Coming Soon! Route 4 Concord-MHT Express.” Note that Route 4 doesn’t refer to New Hampshire Route 4 headed toward Portsmouth, but the designation as the authority’s fourth route (out of 13 routes).

The last piece of collaboration is parking, which will be available free at the Concord Transportation Center.

True, those lots are often packed, but don’t worry, they’ve already talked about additional parking to meet demand.

I can only say to all involved, “Well done!”

Legacy Comments4

$4 - what a joke.....if any reader thinks the real cost is $4 then the democrat party is for you

I'm no fan of big business, nor an uncritical advocate of government. However........... This comment simply doesn't make sense to me, Sail. All trips aren't going to be full to capacity. So let's say, on average, each one is about 75% full...22 passengers (which may be optimistic). That's a whopping $88 per trip. Now let's say that, factoring in load/unload time, breaks, time for required paperwork, etc., each trip requires an average of one hour of a driver's time. And let's say that a driver's average cost, including salary, benefits, administrative costs, etc., is $40/hr. That leaves $48 for fuel, tolls, depreciation on the bus, maintenance, reasonable fees to Concord Coach for terminal service, fees to MHT, administrative costs, advertising and no doubt a host of other expenses I haven't even considered. That's stretching that 48 bucks a long way. I'm with MacDougall below. At today's prices it would cost me the better part of $4 just for gas from Concord to MHT. Add in daily parking costs plus the hassle of getting a shuttle from the terminal to your parking lot...this is a great bargain! I will be using it for the first time in a few days and am very much looking forward to this cost-effective improvement on the way I have always traveled out of Manchester. So call me... A Satisfied Republican

A 45 minute ride from Manchester to NYC is $717.00. Fly out of Boston and it is $414.00. Manchester is overcharging. Not enough flights unless you are going to Florida on Southwest,

Hurray, Hurray. I travel alot for business and am absolutely thrilled about this bus service to/from the Manchester Airport from Concord. Four bucks each way? Are you serious! I am used to paying up to $17 per day for parking so this will be great. Image getting off the plane and not having to drive the 25 miles back to Concord.Ok, now let's see if we can get these same people to get more airlines to fly into Manchester. While we are at it how about a couple of direct flights to some select West Coast destinations?I really am happy about this ...I'm just looking to the future.

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