TRENTON — The Island Explorer bus system set a single-day ridership record Aug. 5, going over 10,000 for the first time since the fare-free buses began serving Acadia National Park and surrounding communities in 1999.
The exact number of riders Aug. 5 has not yet been finalized, according to Paul Murphy, executive director of Downeast Transportation, which operates the Island Explorer. But he said he is confident the number exceeds 10,000.
The previous one-day record was 9,602 passengers, set Aug. 8 last year. The average daily ridership last summer was 7,217.
This year, between the start of the Island Explorer season June 23 and the end of July, the number of passengers was almost identical to ridership during the same period last year. This year’s passenger total for that period was 270,997, a drop of 1,294, or less than one-half of 1 percent. That difference is “well within the margin of error,” Murphy said.
The Island Explorer operates 31 buses on 10 routes serving Mount Desert Island, Trenton and the Schoodic Peninsula.