December 21, 2010


Union Leader Correspondent
LONDONDERRY -- The Cooperative Alliance for Regional Transportation (CART) hopes to soon partner with the Rockingham County Nutrition program in offering a new, free shuttle for residents wishing to shop and attend medical appointments along the Route 102 corridor.
During Monday night’s Town Council meeting, CART executive director Lee Maloney offered an informative presentation on current and future transportation initiatives, as well as an update on local and regional funding.
Though plans for the new “Sun Shuttle” are still in conceptual
 stages, Maloney said she’s hoping the program can both stimulate the economy along Route 102 and offer local seniors and others an additional community resource.
The Sun Shuttle would charge no fare, though donations would be accepted on a voluntary basis, Maloney said.
Residents would need to call for the service one day in advance, though the shuttle
 would pick them up at their homes.
“We’re hoping we can work this out using some of the funding Rockingham County Nutrition received,” Maloney said, noting that CART recently purchased three small buses for the new program. Each bus holds about 14 passengers, with wheelchair ramps making it easier for seniors to board.
Maloney said CART is also trying to gain some advertising revenue. CART officials will return before the council sometime soon to discuss the project further, with specifics on route frequencies and stops yet to be determined.
CART currently receives 5307 federal funding, meaning the
 organization assists any resident in need, though is particularly important to local elders and those with physical challenges. 

Over the past year, Maloney said she’s seen a 17 percent overall increase in disabled residents requiring a wheelchair lift, though families with children use the service as well. 
CART’s services span an area of 200 square miles and seven communities: Chester, Derry, Danville, Hampstead, Windham, Salem and Londonderry. 
Fares are $3 per trip for those staying in their respective towns; $4 per trip for those traveling between included communities, and $5 per trip for traveling outside the included communities. 
Half fares are offered for veterans, or those residing in subsidized housing. 
The organization does receive a small amount in donations, Maloney said. However, the lion’s share of funding, at 59 percent, comes from the state Department of Transportation. 
In the coming fiscal year, the town of Londonderry has a budgeted $27,500 to fund its share of CART services: Maloney said the town averages about 2500 trips used by its residents annually.
“Twenty percent of the trips we drive are from Londonderry, but the town is paying for 16 percent of this service,” Maloney told the council. “So you’re getting a good deal.” 
Resident Bob Ramsey, who serves on the board of directors for CART, noted the town’s senior center no longer has its own van. 
“I’m in a unique situation where I’m part of the older generation here in town,” Ramsey said. “I know a number of people from the senior center are happy with this service.” 
He further noted that many handicapped people in town use service to access medical appointments. 
“It’s a lifesaver here in this town. You see a lot more CART buses than you did a few years ago,” Ramsey said. 

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