The state wants to know what changes you’d like to see in bus service

Monitor staff
Published: 6/16/2019 6:16:44 PM

Provide better access to jobs or lure more young adults? Add more buses or build apps to let us know where the existing ones are? Create more routes or put more service on existing routes?

Those are among the choices that New Hampshire wants people to help it make as it decides how, and whether, to change public bus transit throughout the state.

“We are making sure our priorities are in line with what the data shows and the public wants – make sure we are using our money wisely,” said Fred Butler, public transportation administrator with the New Hampshire Department of Transportation.

The DOT is asking state residents to take a short survey (www.surveymonkey.com/r/QX22KS9) expressing their thoughts by July 15. Participants can enter a drawing to receive one of four $50 Visa gift cards, or complete the survey anonymously.

Results will be incorporated into a transit study that is nearing completion after about two years; the draft can be seen online at nhtransitstudy.com. The survey will be used to guide future planning and budget decisions, Butler said.

The survey asks seven questions.

One asks people to rank the importance of various roles that buses play, featuring choices like providing basic mobility, supporting economic vitality and “attracting millennials.”

Another asks for any preferred changes to in-city or statewide bus services, including one choice that says “local routes seem to be a waste of money; they should be cut back.”

The survey also asks for preferences about what options should exist for communities that don’t have in-town bus service, with choices including “Franklin/Tilton” and “Suncook, connection to Concord,” and preferred regional options, including choices connecting Concord to Keene, to Lebanon, to Laconia and to Rochester.

“In the event we find ourselves in an opportunity to have an expansion we’ll go back and be able to say ... the following two or three routes were identified as top tier priorities for expansion,” said Butler.

After the survey closes in mid-July, the results will be incorporated into the report. “We’ll revisit our tentative conclusions and if everything falls in line produce a final strategic study report, and use that for our own funding considerations,” Butler said.

A similar survey was given last year to transit operators in the state, which includes 11 public bus companies in cities as well as several private intercity bus firms, including Concord Coach. It showed a strong preference for buying more buses over other types of capital spending.

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313 or dbrooks@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)



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