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.
Free Transfer Pilot Program Extension (June 13, 2022)
COAST is extending it's Free Transfer Pilot program through to the end of calendar year 2022.
The pilot has been quite successful, transferring passengers have appreciated the lower costs to ride, and there have been lower than anticipated impacts to overall fare revenues collected.
Upcoming Service Modifications for May 21, 2022 (May 9, 2022)
Due to a severe shortage of CDL-qualified operators, we regret that COAST is being forced to suspend Saturday service on all fixed routes, ADA paratransit, and other demand response services, and must reduce the weekday frequency of service on Routes 40/43 (Portsmouth/Newington) and Routes 1/33 (Dover/Somersworth/Berwick). Saturday Route 7 On Demand service will shift to Tuesday for the time being. These changes will take effect beginning May 21.
We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience and want to reassure you we are doing everything in our power to resolve the situation. Like many of the other businesses and nonprofits in our communities, COAST's ability to fulfill our mission is being impacted by economy wide staffing shortages. We are intently focused on regaining control of this situation as quickly as possible so that we can fulfill our promise to the communities and people we serve. We appreciate your patience and your loyalty.
If you or someone you know wants to work for an employer that is focused on serving your community and providing an essential service, please visit our website to learn more about the driving opportunities currently available and to apply. At COAST, we value and recognize the contributions our employees make, communicate with staff directly, set clear expectations, consistently treat staff fairly, and work together as a team. Join us and help make the Greater Seacoast a better place to be every day!
Effective Saturday, May 21 the following services/routes will be modified (specific details for Routes 1/33 and 40/43 will be forthcoming):
- Suspension of All Saturday Services - fixed routes, ADA paratransit, and demand response
- Routes 1/33 (Dover/Somersworth/Berwick) - will be operated as through routes (interlined) throughout the weekday on a 2-hour service frequency (headway)
- Route 34 (Dover) - the 7:30pm outbound run will be suspended.
- Routes 40/43 (Portsmouth/Newington) - will be operated as through routes (interlined) throughtout the weekday vs. just in the afternoon/evening as they are now. This will resut in a 2-hour service frequency (headway) throughout the day.
- Route 7 On Demand (Newmarket/Stratham/Exeter) - service provided on Saturdays will be moved to Tuesdays, so that the overall level of service is maintained.
For more specifics on affected routes and runs, please visit the webpage for the Route you need information for.
TSA Mask Mandate Suspension (April 19, 2022)
As of this afternoon, after having received concurrence from the Federal Transit Administration, it is no longer a requirement to wear a mask while riding on COAST vehicles.
The CDC does still recommend wearing a mask as an effective measure against COVID-19. COAST encourages passengers to make their own personal choices when riding. We will welcome you aboard regardless of your choice.
For passengers using COAST's demand response services (ADA, PST, Rte 7 On Demand, etc.), at this time we will honor rider requests for our staff to wear a mask when onboard one of these smaller and more confined vehicles. Demand response customers are asked to be considerate of other customers who request they wear a mask, but it will not be a requirement.
Closure for Friday, February 25, 2022
COAST will not be operating any services (fixed route or demand response) on Friday, February 25 due to the predicted snow throughout the day Friday. We expect to be back to full operations on Saturday, February 26.
Closure for Friday, February 4, 2022
COAST will not be operating any services (fixed route or demand response) on Friday, February 4 due to the predicted mix of ice and snow overnight on Thursday and for most of Friday . We expect to be back to full operations on Saturday, February 5.
Closure for Saturday, January 29, 2022
COAST will not be operating any services (fixed route or demand response) on Saturday, January 29 due to the predicted heavy snow and wind. We expect to be back to full operations on Monday, January 31.
Temporary Service Suspensions of January 10 - 14 Removed
The temporary service suspensions implemented for Monday, January 10 through Friday, January 14 have been removed as of Saturday, January 15. COAST is now back to operating on the schedules that went into effect on November 13.
Temporary Service Suspensions for Monday, January 10 through Friday, January 14
Due to temporary staffing shortages because of required COVID-19 isolation or quarantine protocols for our staff, we have made the decision to reduce COAST fixed route services for next week, Monday, January 10 through Friday, January 14. Anything beyond that will be decided based on how things develop during that week.
The specific runs on the listed routes will be affected.
- 6:30am - 7:25am cancelled
- 10:30am - 11:25am cancelled
- 12:30pm - 1:25pm cancelled
- 2:30pm - 3:25pm cancelled
- 4:30pm - 5:25pm cancelled
- 6:20pm - 7:25pm cancelled
- 8:30am northbound cancelled
- 9:54am southbound cancelled
- 2:30pm northbound cancelled
- 3:54pm southbound cancelled
- 5:30pm northbound cancelled
- 6:54pm southbound cancelled
- 8:30pm northbound cancelled
- 8:00am northbound cancelled
- 10:30am southbound cancelled
- 2:00pm northbound cancelled
- 4:30pm southbound cancelled
- 5:00pm northbound cancelled
- 7:30pm southbound cancelled
- 8:00pm northbound cancelled
- 9:00am -9:53am cancelled
- 3:00pm - 3:53pm cancelled
- 6:00pm - 6:53pm cancelled
- 9:00pm - 9:09pm cancelled
- 6:12am - 6:25am inbound cancelled
- 7:30am - 8:25am cancelled
- 9:30am - 10:25am cancelled
- 11:30am - 12:25pm cancelled
- 1:30pm - 2:25pm cancelled
- 3:30pm - 4:25pm cancelled
- 5:30pm - 6:25pm cancelled
- 7:30pm - 7:57pm cancelled
- 7:57pm outbound cancelled
- 6:00am - 6:47am cancelled
- 8:00am - 8:47am cancelled
- 10:00am - 10:47am cancelled
- 12:00pm - 12:47pm cancelled
- 6:30am - 6:54am cancelled
- 7:00am - 7:57am cancelled
- 9:00am - 9:57am cancelled
- 11:00am - 11:57am cancelled
- 1:00pm - 1:57pm cancelled
We hope that we will be able to remove these suspensions the following week.
Thank you for your patience with our staff who are doing their very best to maintain as much service as possible under very challenging circumstances.
New 6-Month Free Transfer Program Pilot Announced
On January 3, 2022 COAST will ring in the New Year by piloting a free transfer program on fixed route buses. The pilot will run for six months until June 30.
Transfers will be valid for one immediate transfer to the next available COAST bus on the desired route, but for no greater than 60 minutes. Customers paying with cash or single ride tickets will be issued a free transfer ticket if they request it while boarding their first bus. For a trip involving two different routes to get to a destination, the full cash fare will be cut in half, from $3.00 to $1.50. For individuals who qualify for COAST's half fare program, trips involving two different routes will go from $1.50 to $0.75.
Passengers who remain on a single vehicle to their destination will continue to not need a transfer, including on routes that change number along the way (such as the 12S, which continues as the 13S to Portsmouth).
Customers boarding with a monthly pass, UNH ID, GBCC ID, or a transfer ticket may not request a transfer ticket. Transfers are not valid on COAST demand response services, or on services operated by other providers, such as Wildcat Transit.
COAST ADA paratransit passengers will also benefit from the six month pilot. The fares charged for their equivalent two-legged trips will also be cut in half because of the free transfers offered on the fixed route buses.
The goals of the new program are to make riding with COAST simpler, reduce costs for passengers travelling on multiple routes on COAST's system, and to encourage increased ridership overall.
Near the end of the six month trial period, COAST will evaluate the impacts of the free transfer program on ridership, operations, and revenues to determine whether it will continue.
CDL Driver Shortage Forcing New Adjustments to Temporary Service Suspensions
(effective November 13, 2021)
The scarcity of qualified CDL licensed operators across the nation continues to also affect local public transit operators like COAST.
“We know the impacts service suspensions have on other businesses that rely on our buses to get their employees safely and affordably to and from work, students needing to get to classes, and others needing to simply get to where they are trying to go. We are doing everything we can to try and return to full operations, but the lack of qualified candidates looking to become public transit operators is taking time to overcome. In the mid-term we are even looking out and trying to alter our fleet mix (in approximately 9-12 months) so that we could hire non-CDL licensed individuals to drive smaller buses on some of our routes,” states Rad Nichols, COAST Executive Director.
Temporary Service Suspensions
Starting on November 13, and continuing until COAST reaches adequate staffing levels, services on the following bus routes will be temporarily suspended:
- Route 14 (between the Rochester P&R/Portsmouth Mon-Sat)
- Route 33 (continuation of 4:30pm run suspension Mon-Sat)
- Route 34 (multiple am and pm runs Mon-Sat)
- Route 40 (continuation of current suspensions)
- Route 43 (continuation of current suspensions)
- Route 44 (one pm run Mon-Fri)
- Route 12 (all previously suspended runs)
- Route 13 (all previously suspended runs)
- Route 33 (6:30pm run)
Service resumptions, particularly on Routes 12 and 13 with stronger rider usage, are possible because of deeper suspensions to the lower ridership Route 14.
Nichols confirmed, “like with previous temporary suspensions we have had to put in place, the sole reason COAST is suspending these services is due to the shortage of CDL drivers. We have tried to be even more strategic in our suspensions this time around to impact as few passengers as possible. Our goal is to scale back up to full operations as quickly as possible once we have hired and trained new staff.”
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.
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.