Western Maine Transportation System’s new GreenLine commuter bus. Submitted photo

AUBURN – Just weeks after lamenting that it may have to eliminate bus services in the Farmington area, Western Maine Transportation Services announced Friday that its services have been saved by an emergency grant.

The $10,000 from the Harold Dudley Charitable Fund of the Maine Community Foundation means transportation services will continue in Franklin County, according to a news release.

“We so appreciate the remarkable generosity of this grant,” said WMTS General Manager Sandy Buchanan. “Having to tell our riders they could be losing a service they depend on for getting to work, school, basic services like pharmacy and grocery shopping, and to their health care appointments was truly painful and disheartening. We’re very relieved that we’ll be able to continue providing the transportation our riders rely on.”

The emergency grant, she said, was crucial. It will be used as the required local match to get much needed federal funds, which provide the majority of the revenue to operate the service.

Transportation service representatives were taken by surprise in December when they learned that a $10,000 contribution they counted on from Franklin County to get federal funds, wasn’t being released by commissioners. The money was to be used to get about $13,500 from the federal government.

In jeopardy were the daily public transit services demand-response buses in Farmington, Wilton, Jay, and surrounding communities, and the monthly service between Rangeley and Farmington.  A “drastic reduction in services” was planned for March 31.

The outcry to that news was immediate and culminated in the grant from the Maine Community Foundation, which “works with donors and other partners to improve the quality of life for all Maine people.”

“We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support shown by our riders, municipalities, businesses and members of the public,” Buchanan said. “We’re also grateful for the engagement of the state legislators who have understood how additional state funding would benefit everyone, throughout Maine.”

 

 

 

 


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