Ridership shatters old record



FILE PHOTO

Riders disembark from an Island Explorer shuttle bus. The bus system set a new passenger record this summer.

BAR HARBOR — Ridership on the Island Explorer shuttle bus system set a new record on Monday, Aug. 4, when it carried an estimated 9,500 passengers.

That eclipses the record set last year by more than 1,000 people.

According to Downeast Transportation chief Paul Murphy, automated equipment on the buses, which run between Trenton, towns on Mount Desert Island and locations throughout Acadia National Park, tallied 9,200 riders on Aug. 4. “That’s without Bicycle Express numbers. It will tick up near 9,500 when we add that in,” he said.

“We’ve only broached 8,000 three times in the past with a record high of 8,440.”

The record was so startling that Murphy checked with the bus service’s technology provider to make sure the numbers were not corrupted. “They hadn’t been,” he said. “Anecdotes confirm how busy we were.”

Earlier this year, the Island Explorer and partner organizations such as Friends of Acadia and L.L. Bean celebrated passing the five-million passenger mark.

The service, now in its 16th year, serves an average of 500,000 visitors annually.

Earl Brechlin

Earl Brechlin

Editor at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander editor Earl Brechlin first discovered Mount Desert Island 35 years ago and never left. The author of seven guide and casual history books, he is a Registered Maine Guide and has served as president of the Maine and New England Press Associations. He and his wife live in Bar Harbor.