As of Monday, Granite Staters will have a new way to travel along the Portsmouth-Epping-Manchester corridor: by van.
A $2.5 million dollar grant will subsidize the new East West Express van service between Portsmouth and Manchester’s airport and transportation center. Eighty percent of the grant comes from the federal government, 20 percent from the state. The grant covers three years.
New Hampshire Department of Transportation commissioner Chris Clement says the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) grant is designed to get vans running 20 times a day at an affordable rate from day one. But the program will only be successful if ridership increases enough to be self-sustaining after three years. "That’s really how we’ll know if the service is beneficial and pays dividends," Clement says.
Residents have been requesting an East/West public transportation service for about ten years. And, according to Clement, the CMAQ project has been five years in the making.
Flight Line, Inc. is a for-profit company that runs bus services on I-93 and Rt. 3 in New Hampshire. A ride from Portsmouth to Manchester in one of its new $85,000 East West Express vans will cost $19.