ShuttleBus-Zoom launches its new “Pulse” system featuring enhanced routes and expanded local service on Thursday. FILE PHOTO

SACO – Starting Thursday, Aug. 1, York County commuters will find their ticket to ride as ShuttleBus-Zoom launches its new “Pulse” system featuring enhanced routes and expanded local service.

The hub of the new system will be the Saco Transportation Center which will serve as ShuttleBus-Zoom’s operations center for all routes and connections. Transit staff members will occupy office space at the Saco Transportation Center and the facility also will be the starting point for all local routes and for the Portland InterCity run.

All of the changes are intended to better service area customers’ needs, said Perian Carpenter, ShuttleBus-Zoom’s mobility manager.

“All local routes, as well as the Portland InterCity run, will begin and end their 75-minute routes at the Saco Transportation Center,” Carpenter said. “Zoom Turnpike Express Service will remain unchanged.”

ShuttleBus-Zoom Fleet Manager Craig Pendleton said that the new routes will be color coded for ease of identification.

“A new route will service the Saco Industrial Park, Mill Brook Business Park and Route 1,” Pendleton said. “The Portland Intercity run will become a more direct route using Route 1 through Saco and Scarborough on its way to Campus Drive, Maine Mall, Portland Greyhound Station and Congress Street.”

According to Pendleton, Biddeford routes will be expanded to include more locations including Morin Street in the Biddeford Industrial Park and Route 1 to service the proposed York County Courthouse. Old Orchard Beach’s service will be expanding to cover Ross Road, Cascade Road and Milliken Street.

He said that the ShuttleBus-Zoom team has spent the last year working with the Maine Department of Transportation and attending community meetings to find out the needs of area residents to better organize the new system. These meetings and detailed market research taken from trends of current users have helped guide the decisions of the board in making the bus system more accessible for those who use it.

“People will be able to know where the blue line will go, or red line, so on and so forth,” Pendleton said. “It aims to make bus routes a lot less complicated and more rider friendly.”

With annual ridership of about 355,000, ShuttleBus-Zoom provides bus service between Biddeford, Saco, Old Orchard Beach, Scarborough, and Portland with seven runs a day. It has 27 full-time employees, 17 part-time employees, 11 seasonal employees, with a $2.8 million operating budget and a capital budget of $1.1 million.

Regular ShuttleBus-Zoom routes cover more than 1,200 miles per day and a seasonal trolley service covers another 750 miles per day during the summer tourism season.

Typical regular one-way fares for ShuttleBus-Zoom are $1.50 and a monthly pass costs $30.

A shift in environmental awareness over the past 40 years has led more residents to turn from cars to a more eco-friendly option, such as taking the bus and ride sharing.

For many who live and work in the same town or city, forgoing a car for public transportation can save significant money. Results of a study conducted by the American Public Transportation Association has revealed that those who use public transportation as opposed to driving a car can save an average of $10,160 a year and that individuals who use public transportation daily to get to work can expect to save, based on 2018 gas prices, about $847 a month on average.

Carpenter said that details of all of the new ShuttleBus-Zoom routes, stops and maps are available online at www.shuttlebus-zoom.com and hardcopies are also available on the buses and at the company’s offices at the Saco Transportation Center.

She said that ShuttleBus-Zoom has made significant improvements to its entire transit service system including expanded routes, improved bus stops with updated signs and new bus shelters.

During the transition to the new Pulse system, ShuttleBus-Zoom transit staff will be available throughout the day to answer questions that come up from customers.

For additional information and updates, riders are encouraged to visit www.shuttlebus-zoom.com or to call 282-5408.

— Executive Editor Ed Pierce can be reached at 282-1535 or by email at [email protected]

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