Service Notices & Changes
COAST will place information on upcoming service notices and schedule changes on this page. Specifics on the changes will be listed under the effective date.
Ongoing Operator Shortage Forcing Temporary Suspension of Additional Services
COAST continues to struggle to find qualified CDL bus operators to drive their local public transit routes. The lack of qualified drivers has, regrettably, reached a point where the public transit system must temporarily adjust parts of some bus schedules further.
After having to suspend a small number of services starting in mid-June, the non-profit public transit system serving the Greater Seacoast region is having to make additional, deeper service suspensions because in addition to already being short staffed, multiple staff who were available for the summer are soon returning to school, or school-based employment.
Starting wages for CDL Bus Drivers at COAST have been raised twice this year, now at $21.25 per hour. After a CDL Bus Driver completes their first year at COAST, the wage rate currently increases by an average of 8.3 percent per year through their fourth anniversary. COAST’s wage scale is also increased annually, or more frequently when necessary, to account for market conditions and inflation. The organization regularly has overtime opportunities which result in time and a half for all hours worked over 40 in a week. COAST also offers a benefits package including medical, dental, disability, life, generous paid time off, SIMPLE IRA with employer match, and many others.
Rad Nichols, COAST Executive Director stated, “We are a mission driven public transit system, offering good career-oriented jobs that positively impact the communities we operate in. When you leave work for the day here at COAST, you know you made a real difference in people’s lives.”
COAST provides a comprehensive paid training program that allows operators to be fully prepared prior to driving routes on their own. Unfortunately, COAST cannot train drivers to get their commercial driver’s license, due to liability insurance restrictions. However, COAST can help CDL drivers earn their passenger endorsement, if needed.
Additional Service Suspensions
Starting on Saturday, August 28, and continuing until COAST reaches adequate staffing levels, services on the following bus routes will be affected:
- Route 12
- Route 13
- Route 14
- Route 33
- Route 40
- Route 43
For more information on the specific runs being suspended on each of the affected routes, please click on the outline of additional service adjustments link above. Schedule pages on the COAST website are in the process of being updated so they will display properly starting on Saturday, August 28.
Operator Shortage Forcing Temporary Suspension of Some Services Beginning Saturday, June 19
Like many local, regional, and national employers who rely on commercial vehicle operators, COAST is suffering from a lack of qualified CDL Bus Drivers. “We have been operating with an ongoing driver shortage for most of the last six years,” stated Rad Nichols, COAST Executive Director. Unfortunately, over the past few months the shortage has grown, and the region’s public transit provider is now unable to meet all its published service schedules. “The pinch we’re feeling most recently is because we have lost a number of employees who moved out of the area, retired, or due to health related issues,” confirmed Nichols.
Until COAST reaches adequate staffing levels, the following services will be temporarily suspended:
Monday – Saturday
- every other run of Routes 40 and 43 during the PM shift (after 1:30pm). On Route 40 this will mean that the following runs will not operate: 2-3pm and 6-7pm. On Route 43 this will mean that the following runs will not operate: 1:30-2:00pm (inbound), 3-4pm, 5-6pm, and 7-8pm. The last normal runs (inbound and outbound) for both routes will be preserved. When a bus from one route continues service on a different route, no additional fare will be charged. This saves one full shift Monday-Saturday in the PM.
- every other run of Routes 1 and 33 during the PM shift (after 3:30pm). On Route 1 this will mean that the following runs will not operate: 3:30-4:30pm and 5:30-6:30pm. On Route 33 this will mean that the following runs will not operate: 4:30-5:30pm and 6:30-7:30pm. Except for the last inbound departure on Rte. 33 from the Dover Arena and Outdoor Pool, the last normal runs for both routes will be preserved. The last run inbound from the Dover Arena and Outdoor Pool stop will be at 5:57pm. When a bus from one route continues service on a different route, no additional fare will be charged. This saves one full shift on Saturdays in the PM.
Schedule pages on the COAST website are in the process of being updated.
This suspension of service will begin on Saturday, June 19 and will last until COAST is able to return to adequate staffing levels. Nichols confirmed, “the sole reason COAST is suspending these services is due to the shortage of CDL drivers to operate our schedules. This represents a very small overall reduction in the services we offer.”
If you have a commercial driver's license and are looking for a change and a great work environment please visit www.coastbus.org/careers.
Service Curtailment Notice for Tuesday, February 2, 2021
Effective January 16, 2021
In response to the most frequent requests received from passengers since we implemented our new system on June 29 this year, we are implementing several schedule changes in mid-January 2021. These include:
- Route 12 - a new earlier southbound run at 5:56am between Rochester/Somersworth/Dover.
- Route 13 - a new earlier southbound run at 5:30am. The new first run at 5:30am will arrive in Kittery (PNSY Gate 1) at 6:05am. Also, there will be a new southbound run at 6:30am between Dover/Portsmouth. The current 5:55am southbound run is being eliminated.
- Route 14 - a new earlier southbound run at 5:09am between Rochester/Dover/Portsmouth/Kittery (PNSY) that is replacing the current 5:36am southbound run. Arrives in Kittery (PNSY Gate 1) at 6:05am.
- Route 34 - the earliest inbound run to downtown Dover shifts to 5:17am. A new 8:17am inbound run to downtown Dover will be available. The last outbound run from downtown Dover will shift to 7:57pm.
- Route 43 (express) - the route will no longer start at the Exit 9 Park & Ride (Indian Brook Drive) and have a connection with Route 14S. Instead, the route will start at 6:30am from the downtown Dover Transportation Center (DTC), connecting with the new early Route 12 southbound, before operating express to Shattuck Way/Fox Run Mall and interlining into Route 43 inbound. If you intend to get from Rochester to a point on Route 43 early in the morning (i.e., Fox Run Mall), you will now need to do this via Route 12 southbound vs. Route 14 southbound.
- Route 44 - the earliest outbound run to Kittery will be at 5:54am, arriving at Government St. (PNSY Gate 1) at 6:00am. A new inbound run to Portsmouth from Government St. will be available at 3:15pm. New inbound runs to Portsmouth from Government St. will be available at 7:47pm and 8:47pm.
- Route 100 - the am southbound run to Kittery (PNSY Gate 1) will be shifted 30 minutes earlier, arriving in Kittery (PNSY Gate 1) for 6:03am. The pm northbound run to Somersworth will also be shifted 30 minutes earlier, departing from outside of Gate 1 at the PNSY at 3:15pm.
To access the live online webinar click on the link (below) just before the start of the webinar. At the webinars, staff will be giving an overview of the changes, and attendees will be able to ask questions and receive live answers.
Live Online Webinar - December 17, 2020, 10:30-11:30am
Live Online Webinar - January 6, 2021, 6:30-7:30pm
Live Online Webinar - January 7, 2021, 3:30-4:30pm
Information on a final schedule webinar (during the week of January 11th) will be posted as soon as the date and time is set.