RELEASE DATE: July 4, 2012

          WEST DOVER, VT   The DVTA is going to Bennington – finally !

          In partnership with its Bennington counterpart, Green Mountain Community Network (GMCN), the DVTA will be providing fare-free public transit service three times daily midweek from Wilmington to Bennington beginning Monday, July 9th.

          The DVTA has been applying for grants for this route since 1998. Both agencies were awarded a total of $78,000 through the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program. The funding represents 80% of total route costs, while the remaining 20% is funded locally. The DVTA’s federal portion of the grant is $51,480 which will be matched with $12,870 of its own funds. The grant is administered by the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) through a highly-competitive application process for transit agencies throughout the state applying for new routes. Vermont’s CMAQ grants are three-year test programs, and funding continues only if ridership goals of 15,000 rides or more are reached.

The grant was funded in part because it had regional impacts, including restoring service along the entire Route 9 corridor of southern Vermont which had not been serviced since the 1980’s when Vermont Transit operated the route. The new roué funding by the feds is the first such funding since the Wilmington-Brattleboro route was awarded in October 2004. That route does over 25,000 rides per year. Expectations for this route are more modest – around 15,000 rides per year by Year Three.

          The DVTA will operate the bus in the mornings from Wilmington to Bennington, departing Shaws at 8:00 am and 10:00 am. The single afternoon trip, operated by GMCN, will depart Bennington at 2:00 pm and arrive at Shaws at 2:45 pm, returning to Bennington via a 3:00 pm departure from Shaws.

          The bus stop in Bennington is at the GMCN’s newly-remodeled terminal on 215 Pleasant Street, just three blocks from downtown. Riders on the new route will be given free transfers onto any GMCN bus serving Bennington’s state services, medical centers, and shopping. Via a paid fare, riders can also take GMCN buses to Manchester, Rutland, and Williamstown, MA. Riders can also transfer to Yankee Trails in Bennington to get to Albany, NY.

          The bus will stop anywhere along the route where it is safe to pull of the road. Riders need to wave at the bus as it approaches for the driver will stop.

          “We are pleased and fortunate to finally be awarded funding for this much-needed service,” said Randy Schoonmaker, DVTA General Manager. “This is one of the last big holes in our route system to fill, and it restores a key link across southern Vermont from Brattleboro to Bennington. The folks in Bennington run a great system and they will take good care of transferring riders to get around town”.

          For more information contact the DVTA at 464-8487 or www.moover.com . Contact GMCN at 447-0477 or www.greenmtncn.org .