Paul Murphy, general manager of Downeast Transportation. Regarding occasional delays of Island Explorer buses due to the Route 3 project, Murphy asks for patience from riders. Ridership is up dramatically over the last few years. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Explorer bus ridership up

BAR HARBOR — Ridership on the Island Explorer bus system during its first three-and-a-half weeks of operation this season was up 4.5 percent over the same period last year.

The free bus system, which serves Acadia National Park and surrounding communities, recorded 138,794 passenger trips between June 23 and July 16.

That puts the Island Explorer on track to break the ridership record set last year with 575,397 passenger trips. That was a 9 percent increase over the 2015 total, 16 percent higher than in 2014 and 36 percent more than in 2013.

Paul Murphy, general manager of Downeast Transportation, which operates the Island Explorer, said a special challenge this year is the Route 3 reconstruction project in Bar Harbor. He said that project, with its occasional traffic delays, is causing “schedule adherence issues” for three bus routes: Oceanarium, Eden Street and Jordan Pond.

“We would ask that people understand the schedule cannot anticipate these delays, and we ask for patience,” Murphy said.

“It’s not the driver’s or the dispatcher’s fault.”

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]

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