LEWISTON — Soon the sight of dozens of yellow school buses at the bottom of Bartlett Street Hill will disappear.

Hudson Bus Lines, which is contracted to transport Lewiston public school students, is relocating in early December to a 4-acre site at 108 Goddard Road near the Maine Turnpike. It has been at the 2-acre location at 280 Bartlett St. since the 1950s.

“We’ve outgrown this facility,” Hudson manager Peter Ouellette said Monday. “We’ve doubled in size” in recent years.

The company had 45 vehicles when Student Transportation of America bought Hudson Bus in 2005. Today, Hudson owns 37 full-size buses, 12 minibuses and 27 minivans. The company has also added employees, “10 to 12 a year,” Ouellette said. Hudson employs 105 workers, of whom 75 are drivers.

Hudson has nearly doubled in size because Lewiston’s student population has grown, and more students are taking the bus.

In addition, in 2010 the city started providing bus transportation to Lewiston High School. Before that, students had to get to school on their own.

“The new facility is being built as we speak,” Ouellette said. There will be a new garage and office. “We’re very excited because of increased parking. It will be a nice, new facility.”

Butch Pratt, transportation director for the Lewiston School Department, said he expects no impact on students.

“This won’t change the pickup time,” he said. Drivers will have to leave the terminal a few minutes earlier to get to their early-morning runs for high school and middle school students. 

The Bartlett Street property has been on the market and could soon be owned by the city.

Lewiston is planning to build a new elementary school for Longley and Martel students at the Lewiston High School football field.

Years ago a federal grant paid for the athletic fields on the condition that the land remain recreational. The federal agency has said the city could use the land for the school if new land for recreation is created.

That’s what may become of the land on Bartlett Street.

The city has entered a 60-day option to buy 280 Bartlett St. for no more than $345,000, pending environmental tests.

Superintendent Bill Webster said there is no specific plan, “but it would be a great site for a community soccer field.”

A final appraisal and environmental test results have to be completed before any land purchase is made, Webster said. 

If all works out, the bus garage and parking lot would become green space next to future walking paths that will lead to the new school. That, officials said, would be ideal for students and the city, since the green space and walking paths will be for everyone in the community.

If the land is purchased, it has not yet been determined who would own it, the School Department or the city.

“That’s still being discussed,” Lewiston City Administrator Ed Barrett said. Preliminary talks have been that the city would buy the property and the land would become part of the Recreation Department. The city needs more soccer fields.

But that decision and how to pay for it would be made by the City Council, Barrett said.


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