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Buses begin rolling in New Durham

A RIBBON CUTTING CEREMONY was held in front the New Durham Town Hall to celebrate the launch of COAST bus service in town. Pictured left to right: Pauline O’Neal, a volunteer, Sarah Holmes, a representative for Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Linda Howard, David Conrad, a volunteer, Rad Nichols, the executive director of COAST, Jeffrey Kratovil and David Bickford, members of the New Durham Board of Selectmen, Gloria Carpenter, a volunteer, and Katie Kemen. Tim Croes. (click for larger version)
April 26, 2011
NEW DURHAM — To celebrate the launch of the Cooperative Alliance for Seacoast Transportation (COAST) bus service in New Durham a ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Thursday, April 21.

Rad Nichols, the executive director of COAST, talked about one of the buses, which was parked in front of the New Durham Town Hall for the ceremony.

Nichols said the bus is one of newer vehicles that COAST owns. It is a 2006 vehicle with less than 30,000 miles that normally cost between $50,000 and $60,000 that COAST purchased for a little more than $20,000.

Nichols gave credit to the volunteers that help COAST operate. Three volunteers were in attendance at ribbon cutting; Gloria Carpenter, a driver from New Durham, David Conrad and Pauline O'Neal.

Nichols talked about grants from United Way of the Seacoast, the New Hampshire Endowment for Health and the Federal Transit Authority that help fund COAST. Nichols said that grant money is in place to help the program continue throughout this year but isn't sure how long federal grants will last.

Diane Smith, the manager of coordination planning and operations for COAST, said that a bus would be able to handle no more than two people with mobility issues.

Interested passengers can call COAST to set up a ride at 1-855-736-4287, which cost $5 roundtrip from New Durham to Rochester. Passengers will be picked up in front of their home street side.

Smith said most passengers are looking to fulfill pharmacy and grocery needs.

"Timing is difficult, with many origins and many destinations," Smith said.

There haven't been any calls for rides, but Smith expects the requests to be made in the near future.

Tim Croes can be reached at tcroes@salmonpress.com or 569-3126

Martin Lord Osman
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