VTA adds off-season bus routes in pilot program
Photo by Susan Safford
With extra funding from the towns, the Vineyard Transit Authority (VTA) last week began a two-year pilot program with expanded off-season bus service.
In previous years, the VTA cut is routes back to six between Columbus Day and early May. This year, as part of the pilot program, the VTA is offering its full 13-route schedule through the off-season. Paratransit service has also been expanded during the off-season, and the VTA is also providing year-round transportation for the Senior Day Program.
At their annual town meetings last spring, all six Island towns voted to split the $410,000 cost to expand the fixed-route bus service and provide year-round transportation for the Senior Day Program. The cost was split based on the same formula as the VTA's annual assessments to the towns.
The assessments for the pilot program were as follows: Aquinnah, $17,630; Chilmark, $62,730; Edgartown $109,060; Oak Bluffs $60,680; Tisbury $102,910; West Tisbury $56,990.
Of that money, $250,000 was for the Senior Day Program, and $160,000 was for the expanded fixed-route bus service.
Under the new schedule, VTA buses will run on the same routes as they did during the summer. In the past there was no winter service on the North Road, Lambert's Cove Road, County Road, West Chop, and Katama routes.
The expanded service will provide a greater range for the VTA's paratransit service. Paratransit service, also known as The Lift, is required under state and federal laws. The service is available to anyone within three-quarters of a mile of the fixed bus routes, and who is unable to independently access the buses.
Complete schedules and a detailed map of the VTA's routes can be found on their web site at vineyardtransit.com.