Comprehensive Operations Analysis
Proposed Bus Service Concept for 2020
COAST continues to work on incorporating feedback and improvements to our proposed service concept for 2020 that we released this past spring. The conceptual plan is NOT a final product, but is really taking shape. We continue to need public input.
Please join us at our next round of public hearings and information meetings, where you can learn about the changes coming in 2020 and provide public input.
View the Proposed Service Concept!
The proposed service concept separates the bus system into Express Routes and Local Routes. There are two Express Routes and eleven Local Routes.
The Express Routes allow fast regional travel between communities. These routes then connect to local services in Rochester, Dover, and Portsmouth, allowing travel to any served location in those and surrounding communities.
Clipper Connection services to the Shipyard from Dover and Rochester will be replaced by the Express Routes. A connection to the PNSY will be made in downtown Portsmouth. Combining services reduces cost and allows hourly connections into and out of the PNSY. The Clipper Connection 100 route will continue operating to the PNSY as a commuter route.
With a few noted exceptions, all routes would operate hourly to allow for convenient connections between routes, and many would run the same schedule on weekdays and Saturday.
Explanation of Proposed Service Concept & Schedules
COAST is pleased to present a revised service design based on the public input received over the summer. While a few minor adjustments have been made based on feedback received, the response we received to the initial plan has been overwhelmingly positive.
With this design, COAST is seeking to shorten travel times for the longest regional trips, provide simple, consistent schedules, maximize Saturday service, improve regional connectivity, and reduce overall operating costs.
This design is the culmination of our comprehensive operations analysis started a year ago. COAST has been analyzing our system to determine how best to meet the changing public transit needs of the region. In the fall and early winter of 2018, we asked for and gathered a tremendous amount of public input and validation of the importance of public transit to the region. The design was initially presented in a series of public forums in late spring, early summer 2019 and public feedback was solicited and received through the summer.
Proposed Route Maps and Timetables
Please note that the timetables currently only have timepoints listed for each end and connection points for all routes. We continue to work on refining the other timepoints for each schedule as our testing of individual route running times is ongoing.
- Route 1 Dover / Somersworth / Berwick
- Route 6 Farmington / Rochester
- Route 12 Rochester / Somersworth / Dover
- Route 13 Dover / Portsmouth
- Route 14 Rochester / Dover / Portsmouth
- Route 33 Dover (Weekdays & Saturdays)
- Route 34 Dover Knox Marsh Road
- Route 40 Islington / Borthwick Trolley
- Route 41 Lafayette Trolley
- Route 42 Pease Shuttle
- Route 43 Newington / Portsmouth
- Route 44 Portsmouth City Hall / Kittery / PNSY
- Route 100 Somersworth / Berwick / Kittery / PNSY
Sample Trips on the Proposed New System
These sample trips will help show some of the changes in how riders may travel across the new proposed routes, and the associated costs for those trips.
Proposed Fare Structure
Over the summer COAST staff conducted an analysis to understand the impact of the proposed system on the cost to ride the system and make recommendations for adjustments to our fare structure if needed.
In crafting these fare changes, COAST sought as simple and consistent a fare structure as possible while ensuring Route 43 Newington / Portsmouth was not disproportionately affected by its separation from the regional routes to Strafford County.
Several COAST routes are interlined in the current system. This means a single bus drives two routes, and some customers ride through to the second route without changing buses.
Currently, Route 40 and 41 are interlined and customers do not pay a second fare to ride through from one to the other if they stay on the bus.
Currently, Route 1 and 33 are also interlined, and customers do pay a second fare to ride through from one to the other on the same bus.
In the proposed system, Routes 12, 13 and 14 are all proposed to be interlined with a single fare to board even when riding through from one route to another. All other routes are proposed to not be interlined, with a fare charged at each boarding. This is designed to maximize simplicity.
Current Fare Structure
COAST’s current system requires a new fare be paid each time someone makes a connection to a new route, except for the interlined trolley routes.
The base cash fare is $1.50, with a $7.00 fare for Clipper Connection routes. There are a variety of discounted multi-ride pass options available.
Those qualifying for half-fare, based on age or disability, are charged $0.75 instead of the base cash fare.
Proposed Fare Structure
Customers will be charged the base fare when boarding any route and will not be charged again so long as they are on the same vehicle.
A free transfer will be offered between Routes 13 and 43 or 14 and 43. Customers traveling solely along the 43 Newington /Portsmouth route, or connecting to it from bus routes other than 13 and 14, will continue to pay as they would today for the equivalent trip.
Base Cash Fare $1.50
Half-Fare $0.75 (based on qualifying age or disability)
Free Transfers Between Routes 13 & 43 and Routes 14 & 43
Children Under 5 Free
15-Ride Punch Tickets $20.00
Monthly Pass $52.00 (applies to all routes)
Cost per Ride by Route (cash fare)
Route 1 Dover / Somersworth / Berwick $1.50 $0.75
Route 6 Farmington / Rochester $1.50 $0.75
Route 12 Rochester / Somersworth / Dover $1.50 $0.75
Route 13 Dover / Portsmouth $1.50 $0.75
Route 14 Rochester / Dover / Portsmouth $1.50 $0.75
Route 33 Dover Whittier St. /County Complex $1.50 $0.75
Route 34 Dover Knox Marsh Road $1.50 $0.75
Route 40 Islington / Borthwick Trolley $1.50 $0.75
Route 41 Lafayette Trolley $1.50 $0.75
Route 42 Pease Shuttle $1.50 $0.75
Route 43 Newington / Portsmouth $1.50 $0.75
Route 44 Portsmouth City Hall / Kittery / PNSY $1.50 $0.75
Route 100 Somersworth / Berwick / Kittery / PNSY $1.50 $0.75
Route 7 OD * $1.50-$3.00 $0.75-$3.00
* Route 7 On Demand fares are based on whether the pickup and drop off are at designated stops. No changes to the existing fare structure currently used on this service are proposed to change.
Goals of the Proposed Concept
COAST is seeking to achieve the following goals in the new proposed service design:
- Separate local routes from routes making regional connections in order to achieve different goals with each type of route. (Speed up regional travel. Maximize geographic coverage within local communities.)
- Maintain a minimum of hourly frequencies throughout the day.
- Operate weekdays and Saturdays. Maximize consistency between weekday and Saturday service.
- Operate most services until at least 8:00 PM, and later when possible.
- Prioritize hourly frequencies evenly spread throughout the day, and only add additional commuter service if/when the hourly frequency goal is met.
- Use all funding that can pay for operations to maximize the amount of service operated. Only use capital grants or other dedicated funding for adding conveniences such as shelters.
- Prioritize fixed route service throughout the system. Do not transition any fixed route services to advance reservation services if the fixed route services are achieving an efficiency higher than an advance reservation service can achieve (all our current fixed routes are more efficient than an advance reservation can be).
- Operate within limited available revenues.
Benefits of the Proposed Concept
- Significantly reduces travel times for the longest trips (by approximately 50%)
- Improves timely connections between routes, making regional travel easier
- Clockface scheduling on most routes
- Extends service coverage to identified area
- Maintains current daily span of service
- An overall cost reduction from our current operation
- Greater flexibility to operate routes only when sufficient demand exists
- Makes better use of downtime and movements of vehicles when not in service to maximize revenue services
- Eliminates service to some of the lowest ridership areas
- Reduces peak vehicle requirement and associated costs
In all, this conceptual system better meets the needs of the region today, is much more streamlined, and represents a significant reduction in cost.
2018 Survey Results
Share your thoughts!
We want to know what you think about the proposed service concept for 2020! Please send us your feedback.
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Why change the bus service?
The Seacoast area is growing and changing, and so are the needs of our riders. COAST is performing a comprehensive review of our entire transit system to identify new opportunities to best serve all our communities.
COAST is also preparing for significant funding challenges coming in the future. We are optimistic about working with our partners and community members to find creative solutions to these challenges.
Please know that there are no immediate changes coming to our services. We are planning for 2020.
What can I do to get involved?
If you feel motivated to take action, we encourage you to contact your NH senator and representatives to share how important public transit is to you and how it impacts your life. Please visit citizenscount.org to get the contact information for your elected officials.
Who is involved in the decision-making?
This re-design process is guided by a Steering Committee, made up of people who represent different communities and organizations across the region, who meet regularly to guide and shape the process and project.
COAST is actively asking for input from the public along every step of this process. We are dedicated to making sure everyone has a chance to let their voice be heard by offering a series of public meetings, sending out surveys and email blasts, and encouraging communities to take an active role in this project.
Past Updates and Materials
2nd COA Forum Round Presentation (May- Jun. 2019)
3rd COA Forum Round Presentation (Oct. 2019)
RPC MPO Policy Meeting Presentation (Oct. 2019)
SRPC MPO TAC Meeting Presentation (Nov. 2019)