Bus service expansion to happen soon

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FARMINGTON – Come June 19, it will get easier to get around to shop, go to the doctor’s and run errands in Farmington and Wilton.

With the high cost of gas, that’s good news for many folks.

Western Maine Transportation Services Inc. will begin a five-day-a-week run, available from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., between those towns in addition to transportation services already offered three days a week now, Glenn Gordon, agency community relations director, said Friday.

The service will be open to the general public and provide rides for medical appointments, shopping, pharmacy pickups, SeniorsPlus meal site and other activities.

The bus will operate along routes 2 and 4 from Edgewood Nursing Home in Farmington on the northern end of the run and Umbagog Dialysis Center in Wilton on the southern end of the run.

The green, 12-passenger bus, equipped with a wheelchair lift, will make door-to-door stops along routes 2 and 4 in Wilton and Farmington. The bus will pick up passengers who make reservations, up to of a mile from routes 2 and 4 along the run, Gordon said.

Reservations for the service need to be made 48 hours in advance by phoning (800) 393-9335 to schedule a ride.

The Farmington-Wilton run is the result of several years of study and the persistent efforts of several local agencies, Gordon said. The United Way of the Tri-Valley Area, the Healthy Communities Coalition and Western Maine Community Action have worked with Western Maine Transportation to promote and establish local transportation services, he said.

The cost of a ride is $2 for an adult and $1 for a senior citizen, he said. Anyone on MaineCare and needing to go to a MaineCare medical appointment rides for free.

Gordon said they’re going to work with potential passengers to try to make the runs as efficient as possible.

The service will be operating two buses to meet daily needs.

Currently, every Monday, the agency provides public bus transportation from Farmington to the Lewiston-Auburn area. The Monday run begins at 9 a.m. and starts at the Homestead Bakery on Broadway in Farmington. It is one of three runs offered each week in Franklin County.

People take advantage of the run to go the Auburn Mall and the stores in that area.

A ride of up to 25 miles costs $2, 26-50 miles costs $4 and over 50 miles cost $5 one-way. Seniors, disabled persons and children 5 tom 11 ride for half fare. Reservations can be made by phoning (800) 339-9687.

Besides Monday, existing runs in Franklin County are scheduled Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Mondays, the bus transports from Farmington, Wilton, Jay, Livermore, Livermore Falls and Turner to Auburn and Lewiston locations.

On alternating Tuesdays, the bus travels to pick up in Rangeley, Madrid, Strong, Phillips to Farmington. Local service in Farmington and Wilton is available between 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

The next Tuesday, the bus starts in Eustis and travels through Carrabassett Valley, Kingfield, New Vineyard, Industry en route to Farmington. Side service is available to some locations in New Sharon and Temple on request. Local service in Farmington and Wilton is available between 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

On Thursdays, the bus provides service from the Jay, Livermore, Livermore Falls area to Wilton and Farmington locations. Side service is available to some locations in Carthage, Weld and Chesterville on request. Local service is available in Farmington and Wilton between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

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