Summer of Public Transit
By MANDY LOCKE
The Vineyard Transit Authority is dedicated to making it easy to leave the car at home and ride the bus through the busy summer season. With climbing gasoline prices and swarms of cars clogging the Vineyard streets this summer, the public transit option is looking more attractive than ever.
To gear up for the tourist demands of summer, the Martha's Vineyard Transit Authority has prepared new routes and programs for the season.
New routes from the Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs Steamship Authority terminals will deliver riders to Edgartown by way of State Road. The transit authority is also expanding its service to Aquinnah from all down-Island towns. Buses leave every half hour from Vineyard Haven and every hour from Oak Bluffs and Edgartown going up-Island. For tourists headed to the Harbor View Hotel, the transit authority will run a loop from the Tourist Information Center in Edgartown every half hour. More buses will also be picking up passengers at the airport this summer, headed for Oak Bluffs, Edgartown and West Tisbury.
Thanks to a new Ready to Read program, school children don't have to wait for their parents or babysitters to tote them to the library for a new book. They can secure a pass from the school librarian good for a free lift on the bus to the library. When they check out a book, the town librarian can give them two passes: one to get home, the other to get back to return the books and check out new ones.
Another ridership-promoting effort of the transit authority is its "commuter solution" program, which celebrates its second year of allowing employers to secure bus passes for employees. Employers can receive up to five free year-long passes for workers, with all others half off. For employees relying on public transportation to get to and from the workplace, this saves them a $70 yearly pass fee.
If you've ditched the car for a bike this summer season and get tired along the way, simply hail a passing bus, and the driver will strap your bike on the front.
Visitors here for a limited time may buy day passes, three-day passes, week passes or even month passes. All these may be purchased on the buses.
The Martha's Vineyard Transit Authority is ready and willing to serve both citizens and visitors this summer. In fact, their hospitality has been recognized on a state level. The Governor's Council on Massachusetts Travel and Tourism recently honored the Martha's Vineyard Transit Authority with its Hospitality Award for the region.