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Bus between Manchester airport, Concord begins

Beginning this morning, there’s a bus between Concord and the airport in Manchester.

For $4, passengers can travel from the bus station on Stickney Avenue to Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.

The Manchester Transit Authority is offering the route as a five-days-a-week one-year trial run. On weekdays, it will make 12 trips between Concord and the airport, with a stop at the Radisson on Elm Street in Manchester.

The first bus leaves Concord at 3:55 a.m. weekdays, with buses continuing throughout the day. The latest bus leaves the airport just after midnight and arrives in Concord at 12:45 a.m.

Officials have said the schedule was created to correspond with flight times. Tickets will be sold at the Concord Coach Lines bus terminal on Stickney Avenue, and passengers can park for free in the station’s parking lot.

Manchester airport officials are looking forward to the new service because it has been easier to take public transportation between Concord and Boston, said Deputy Airport Director Brian O’Neill.

“Unfortunately too often, the air travelers from the Concord area use Boston Logan (airport) instead of their local airport,” O’Neill said. “So we think the start of the Concord-MHT Express is going to give air travelers in the Concord region another opportunity to use Manchester.”

The Manchester Transit Authority used some federal money to offer the service, and the state Department of Transportation provided matching funds for half of the $160,000 cost.

Efforts to create the bus route began earlier this year when state Sens. David Boutin, a Hooksett Republican, and Sylvia Larsen, a Concord Democrat, asked the state DOT to look at a potential bus route. They learned it could take years to study the route’s feasibility and find funding, but the Manchester Transit Authority offered to begin a temporary service with its available federal grants. Boutin, Larsen and state Rep. Candace Bouchard of Concord then worked to find $80,000 in matching funds, and the Capital Budget Overview Committee approved the bus route in May.

Meanwhile, the central and southern New Hampshire planning commissions will conduct a feasibility study for a long-term bus service in hopes that one will be available for years to come.

“We’re hopeful that it will provide an opportunity for more Concord-area air travelers to use the airport, but it will also allow people who are traveling into the region . . . it will give them high-frequency, convenient, cost-effective access to all that the Concord region has to offer,” O’Neill said.

For more information on the new route or to view the bus schedule, visit mtabus.org.

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

Legacy Comments11

RabbitNH wrote: "The idea that folks would travel to Boston on a bus because there is no bus to MHT Airport is beyond being uninformed about why folks are not using the MHT Airport." I fly pretty frequently and I am more than swayed by the fact that I can leave my car in Concord for free, ride a bus directly to Logan and fly out without having to deal with any traffic. If I flew out of MHT, I would have to pay for parking and then maneuver my way from some outlying lot to the the shuttle bus etc. The bus leaves Concord almost every hour and most of the trips are direct non-stops to Logan (with a stop at South Station) The savings in parking and time not driving make Logan a much more attractive option.

Good point, Zulu. Beyond that, once Manchester got involved in the Boston Regional Airport alliance, prices from Manchester skyrocketed. Logan is often the best deal. Manchester is going the way of Worcester. But it is not about a bus.....Manchester is just not reliable and affordable.

Whoops! I mean my post to go to and rewinters not you Waltham Watch. My Bad.

More taxpayer's money down the drain.

Rabbit -- That's just one route you're citing. Southwest doesn't make that route so it's not competitive. For other routes (e.g., Baltimore, Chicago) Manchester is cheaper or better.

That was an example Waltham. Southwest does fly to chicago Midway for 776.00 round trip non stop. I can fly to O'Hare a 7 mile difference from the city from Boston for 409.00. I can fly out of Boston to Tampa for about the same as MHT. But the difference is time selection. Same with orlando. But Boston does have a non stop to Sarasota that MHT does not have on Jet Blue. Been handy for my motherinlaw that lives in Sarasota. In her 80's so non stops are better. Washington prices are also based on times and airports. Southwest is increasing their prices it seems lately in MHT. MHT Airport is like a boutique store on Main Street. Not a lot of choices but high prices. A few Airlines backed out of going into MHT. I make travel plans, so I know of what I speak. Business and pleasure plans.

You sound like you are actively selling the vitues of a Massachusetts governmental agency (MASSPORT which runs Logan Airport) and how well it works. When your actions and claims may encourage some people to follow your lead, do you realize that it takes money and jobs out of NH? You call MHT a boutique store, I call it NH's own airport and I use it as often as I can and I have been able to get almost everwhere I need to go from it for reasonable fares.

Why on earth would I promote folks using Logan? I Love MHT. It is a terrific airport. I was just giving examples why MHT is failing. Most of their flights are off the charts price wise in relation to Boston. Here is another example for ya. MHT to Atlanta $808.00 Non Stop on Delta BOS to Atlanta $480.00 on Delta, Jet Blue United Etc. They are outpricing themselves, it is that simple.

Evidently the Director of MHT Airport does not know what he is talking about. The idea that folks would travel to Boston on a bus because there is no bus to MHT Airport is beyond being uninformed about why folks are not using the MHT Airport. Did any of you ask any travelers why they use Logan? I will help you out. To travel from Logan to most airports in NYC non stop is $261.00 round trip on Delta, United or Jet Blue and multiple airlines. To travel from Manchester Airport to NYC on those same airlines non stop for the 45 minute ride to NYC is $671.00-$689.00. A difference of $353.00. You can get the price down from MHT Airport to NYC to $353.00 for a 45 trip to NYC if you are willing to stop over in Phillie or Washington to get to NYC, thus increasing your travel time to 4 hours. I could hire a limo to take me to Logan to fly to NYC and it would still be cheaper than flying out of MHT Airport. Why would anyone pay an extra $353.00 to fly out of Manchester? Has nothing to do with getting to the Manchester Airport.

While Boston does have cheaper fares to some locations, fares are close to the same for both MHT and BOS for most of the cities that NH most often flies to. Yes, Boston has more frequent flight options, they have more big jet service, and they have JetBlue which has probably been one of the biggest catalysts for NH flyers vacating MHT for Boston. Unfortunately, many people just wont give MHT a chance and feed the notion that Boston Logan is always better. This hurts our local economy and stuffs our money into the pockets of those south of our border. Busses now send hundreds of NH flyers a day to Logan and there is virtually zero bus option to MHT. I think this new service is way overdue in opening traveller options and over time will help NH flyers rediscover the ease of MHT. While this will initially take start-up money, it is an investment in NH business and jobs. I can't argue with that.

Just curoius Red Bird what cities do most folks from NH fly to? I am not feeding anything. Folks want to fly they go on the websites and compare prices. And we are losing all the folks down south to Logan. Most would love to fly out of MHT. Even the new ramp to MHT has not helped.

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