Midcoast Transit Study for
Camden, Rockland, Rockport and Thomaston

Rockland Main Street

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What the Transit Survey Revealed

In summary, a majority of the respondents to the survey were older (over 51 years old) and have access to a vehicle on a daily basis. Many respondents had heard of Coastal Trans, but not as many had actually used it. Those who did use Coastal Trans  traveled mostly to Rockport and Rockland, and the purpose of many of those trips was either medical or shopping.

Respondents generally traveled during regular commuting hours (with 7-9 am the highest traveled time slot) and commutes were focused on the four towns: Rockport, Rockland, Camden and Thomaston. For both commuting and other trip purposes, a majority of those responding traveled outside of their hometowns to get the services they needed.

While many respondents thought that public transit in the region would benefit several groups, fewer thought that they personally would use the service. Some had requests as to where the service would run, or how frequently. However, the overall sentiment toward the study and transit service in Knox County was positive. Please click here to see more specifics on how the survey questions were answered.

Presentations:

Data and Reports: 

Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 31, 2013

For more information contact: Don White, 236-4885

Want Public Transit? Online Survey Provides Potential Midcoast Solutions
   
Public outreach and survey work has already shown there is a strong interest in creating some level of public transit to serve the Midcoast. Now it’s time to talk about what it might look like, says Don White, chairman of the Midcoast Transit Committee. After hiring a consultant firm to assess potential for service in the towns of Rockland, Rockport, Camden and Thomaston, the committee is now asking the public to weigh in on the possibilities.  Don announced today that, a survey to gather public opnion on the various options is available at http://www.midcoastplanning.org/transitstudy.html. He added that the survey will also be posted on the websites of the four towns sponsoring the study.

 “The feedback we get from this survey will directly affect the committee’s next steps in finding ways to make transit service possible by developing funding sources,” Don said. The Midcoast Transit Committee includes representatives from the four communities, Rockland, Coastal Trans, local health care centers, other interested businesses, and MaineDOT. Don added that at best, a transit service will still take a couple of years to get started, but, he said, “We are getting closer every day.”

The study and potential transit options were developed by Nelson/Nygaard, a firm specializing in transit planning nationwide. The study website not only hosts the survey but also contains additional information about the study and its findings. Those with questions can also email Carol Morris of Morris Communications, who is handling public outreach for the study at cmorris@morriscomm.net.

White says the survey will be available through the end of November and encourages as many people as possible to go online and make comments.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 10, 2013

For more information contact: Don White, 236-4885/Carol Morris, 329-6502

Critical Midcoast Public Transit Meeting October 23 at Rockland City Hall Chambers

A public meeting to report on the findings of a study on potential transit options for Midcoast Maine will take place on Wednesday, October 23th at 7 pm at the Rockland City Hall Chambers. The Midcoast Transit Committee and consultants from Nelson/Nygaard will roll out potential scenarios for transit in the region. In this meeting, the public will hear about the range of choices for transit here, assess the pros and cons, and provide direction to the Midcoast Transit Committee in terms of next steps.

This session is the third and final in a series of public meetings to bring the public up to date on the information gathered during the study. Previous meetings in June provided an overview of data gathered from online consumer survey, employer survey, data received from area transportation providers and research based on regional and national data. Information on those meetings, as well as findings to-date coming from the study, can be found at http://www.midcoastplanning.org/transitstudy.html.

As Don White, chairman of the Midcoast Transit Committee noted, “This is a big step, as for the first time we will see what our choices are and what they might cost. It is critical that we get a big turnout for this meeting to generate some good discussion on next steps.”

He said that the Transit Committee met on October 10th in Rockport and reviewed new preliminary data from Nelson/Nygaard on possible options. “The meeting in Rockland will give everyone interested in daily transit between Camden and Thomaston a chance to view the options and ask questions of the study team, ”White remarked. He added that the public response to an online survey run earlier this year as part of the study was off the charts, indicating much public interest in the topic. “Now,” he said, “we need to hear what the public thinks of specific options.”

Daily bus service ended in the Midcoast area in the late 1950s and attempts at seasonal daily transit have been short lived since then. However, during the past several years, localized daily transit systems have met with success in the Bar Harbor area, Augusta, York County, Bethel Area and in the Sugarloaf area. Some of these systems are seasonal.

The Midcoast Transit Study will be completed in late January, 2014.Those who have questions about the meeting can email Carol Morris at cmorris@morriscomm.net or call 207-329-6502.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 14, 2013

For more information contact: Don White, 236-4885/Carol Morris, 329-6502

Midcoast Public Transit Meetings June 24 and June 26 in Rockland and Camden

Those interested in whether transit could work in Midcoast Maine will want to attend one of two upcoming public informational meetings. On Monday June 24th at the Rockland Public Library and again on Tuesday June 25th in the Washington Street Conference Room in the Camden Opera House, the Midcoast Transit Committee and consultants from Nelson/Nygaard will roll out the first findings on potential transit in the region. Both meetings begin at 6:30 pm. These public outreach sessions are intended to bring the public up to date on information gathered from the study’s online consumer survey, employer survey, data received from area transportation providers and research based on regional and national data. The meeting will include breakout groups so residents can help refine the information received from these sources.

“The reality of a daily transit system could exist for our Midcoast area, Camden to Thomaston, and this grant will provide the needed research to allow us to take the next step,” explains Don White of Camden, chair of the Midcoast Transit Committee. “These two public sessions will give residents and businesses an opportunity to weigh in on the study’s findings to-date.”

Daily bus service ended in the Midcoast area in the late 1950s and attempts at seasonal daily transit have been short lived since then. However, during the past several years, localized daily transit systems have met with success in the Bar Harbor area, Augusta, York County, Bethel Area and in the Sugarloaf area. Some of these systems are seasonal.

“While Coastal Trans and others offer services in our four town area, there has been increased talk of creating a bus or van daily transit system. In October of 2011, Lee Karker of Coastal Trans and Tim Sullivan of Rockland hosted a transit get-together at the Rockland Public Library and in January of this year, Nelson/Nygaard was hired to study the possibility of daily transit between our four towns,” White stated.

“We’ll be talking about the details around the economics and ridership needs for putting together a successful transit system in a rural area,” Carol Morris, public outreach consultant for the study, explained. “ We think that will be of interest to people who are serious about transit here. There has already been an astounding response to the online survey,” she said, “and so we are looking forward to good turnout and lively discussion at both these meetings.”

The online survey about travel habits relating to a transit service is available on each of the four communities websites and at www.midcoastplanning.org in transit study section. White noted that, “a daily transit service might help families with no car or those with one car. It might help students getting around after school, and in the summer help visitors more easily get around our four town area.”

The transit study is also available through Facebook; study updates are posted at the Mid-Coast planning website.

Those who have questions about the meeting can email Carol Morris at cmorris@morriscomm.net or call 207-329-6502

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 19, 2013

For more information, contact Carol Morris at cmorris@morriscomm.net, 329-6502, or Don White, 236-4885

Midcoast Communities Investigate Public Transit Opportunities

Four coastal towns are evaluating their communities’ need for some level of expanded public transit. Camden, Rockport, Rockland and Thomaston have joined together to help fund a fact-based study that will identify transportation gaps and assess what kind of a system could best fill them - and how it might be funded.

“I hear repeatedly from people in the Midcoast that they are interested in having more public transportation,” said Don White, Camden selectman and chairman of the Midcoast Transit Committee, which is overseeing the study.  The Midcoast Transit Committee includes representatives from the four municipalities, Coastal Trans and MaineDOT.

“Our goal is to find out what kind of ridership a public transit system could get, who would use it, what the most-used routes would be, and how we could get it funded,” said Don. “We’ll be looking at all the possibilities.”

The study will evaluate key travel destinations such as employment, service and activity centers, and review the use and effectiveness of existing transportation options. Regular commuter travel patterns as well as errand-oriented travel patterns will also be mapped to compare existing service with current and potential needs.

The study team, headed by Nelson Nygaard, a firm specializing in transit planning nationwide, will be reaching out to the public in a variety of ways to gather feedback. Telephone interviews with employers, outreach at local stores, and starting next month, an online survey. “For those who are able to get out and attend public workshops, we’re planning one in June and one in November,” said Don.

The study website will be available early next month; in the meantime, people with questions can email Carol Morris of Morris Communications, who is handling public outreach for Nelson Nygaard, at cmorris@morriscomm.net.

 


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