Public Bus Service Coming To Bourne And Sandwich
By: Diana T. Barth
Bourne and Sandwich will soon be getting fixed-route bus service.
Thomas S. Cahir, head of the Cape Cod Regional Transportation Authority, told Bourne selectmen on Tuesday that his agency is poised to offer a new year-round service on the Upper Cape.
Mr. Cahir, a former state legislator who has administered the regional transit authority for the past two years, said he is well aware that the authority provides bus services for 13 of the Cape’s 15 towns, with Bourne and Sandwich being the only exceptions.
While residents of these two towns can use the transit authority’s dial-a-ride service, they have been without regularly scheduled routes to take them shopping or to medical appointments.
The exact details and timing of the new routes are still being worked out. As currently planned, one bus route would start at the park and ride in Sagamore, cross the Sagamore Bridge and go through Sandwich, heading down Route 130 into Mashpee, where it would join with the existing SeaLine. That line runs between Hyannis and Woods Hole. Mr. Cahir plans to bring the details of the proposed new route before Sandwich selectmen on January 5.
A second route, also starting at the park and ride, would go across the bridge, down Sandwich Road, and then would go along County Road in Bourne before meeting up with Route 28 south. It would make stops at places such as an elderly housing complex, Falmouth Hospital, and the district court, ending up at the clock tower at the Falmouth Mall, where it would join the SeaLine, as well.
In Hyannis, connections will be available to routes on the Lower Cape, such as the flex service that runs from Harwich to Provincetown.
While there are still a few loose ends to tie up, Mr. Cahir said he expects the new Upper Cape routes to go into effect on January 30.
Mr. Cahir expects to offer five to seven trips per day, hopefully including an early bus. While the CCRTA cannot, by law, be a school bus, if the route goes by a school such as the Sturgis Public Charter School in Hyannis, nothing says that students cannot ride it, if the timing is helpful to them, he said.
An early bus would also provide transportation for people heading to work at, say, the Cape Cod Mall or Mashpee Commons, he said.
The service will cost $2 a ride; $1 for the disabled and for senior citizens, Mr. Cahir said.
The towns receiving transit authority services pay a local assessment. Since the authority received a grant to provide the service, which is expected to take cars off Upper Cape roads, Bourne and Sandwich will not have to pay such an assessment during the first year or two of the program.
After grant money is no longer available, the towns will have to determine whether the service is worthwhile enough to residents to pick up their share of the costs.
Donald J. Pickard, chairman of Bourne’s board of selectmen, called the new service a tremendous opportunity for Bourne and Sandwich residents to get to Falmouth and other Cape destinations at a reasonable cost.
Mr. Cahir said he expects information on the new routes will be posted online in near future at capecodrta.org, on Facebook, and through public service announcements. The CCRTA will be pulling out all the stops to let people know when and how they can ride.
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