CCTA routes approved for February service

The Chittenden County Transportation Authority’s board of commissioners approved Milton’s proposed bus routes last month, giving the go-ahead for service beginning in February.

“It sounds like the CCTA board is confident that everything is okay with the route they saw in December,” said CCTA planning manager Meredith Birkett.

The route includes two morning and evening commuter trips and a midday and evening run. Major stops in Milton are the Chimney Corners Park and Ride, Catamount Industrial Park, Milton Town Offices, a River Street-Villemaire Avenue stop and Husky.

The first bus arrives at River Street-Villemaire at 6:40 a.m. and pulls in to Burlington’s Cherry St. hub an hour later, stopping at Fletcher Allen Health Care and the Champlain Mill along the way. The latest bus leaves the hub at 9:30 p.m., getting back to Chimney Corners at 10:22 p.m.

Some intermediate stops are the near the Citgo station and Sears on Rte. 7 and on Main and Railroad streets. These will be indicated with an official bus stop sign, and drivers will stop here only if people are waiting. A complete schedule can be found on CCTA’s Web site, www.cctaride.org.

These routes are mostly final but will be reviewed in February, Birkett said.

“If we find that there are issues, we can always update it,” she said, adding that schedule changes are typically done in June.
Bus routes take three years to mature and grow ridership, Birkett said.

Town manager Sandy Miller, who also serves as a CCTA board representative, is pleased bus service will begin less than two years after a ballot vote to join CCTA and that the company took Milton’s membership “very seriously,” he said.

Miller sees benefits in eased transportation, reduced Rte. 7 congestion and lessened pollution, he said.

“The investment being made by Milton’s taxpayers in public transportation should be well worth it,” Miller said.

Milton received a three-year congestion mitigation air quality grant from the Vermont Department of Transportation in October 2009. Each grant year, Milton will pay $44,450, its 20 percent cost share. After the grant period, the state will likely pick up the 80 percent tab, Birkett said.

Selectboard member Diana Palm, who served on the CCTA board with Miller, is excited to ride the bus with her grandchildren on its opening day: Valentine’s Day.

“It will give me a good excuse to go [into Burlington] and buy some candy,” Palm said.

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