Friday, October 1, 2010
One of the project that the Planning Department has championed is the high frequency inner city bus service, known as the FastTrans. This project is providing regular, hourly bus service from downtown to homes, businesses, and remote parking in the city. There are three FastTrans routes, numbered 33, 34, and 35, which run every hour, from about 7AM until 7PM, Monday through Friday. Also as part of the FastTrans project, service on COAST Route 1, which serves downtown as well as the Dover Housing Authority, has been increased to hourly frequency.
This project was begun at the direction of the City of Dover to provide fast and affordable transportation throughout the greater downtown area. The project is funded through a "CMAQ" (Congestion Mitigation Air Quality) grant submitted by the Planning Department and approved (a federal grant for projects that will improve air quality and reduce traffic congestion) by the state and Federal Highway Administration. Funding for the local match of 20% come from the City of Dover out of registration fees and from Strafford County.
The goal in designing these routes for the City was to connect dense residential areas, remote parking lots, and transportation centers, with the core downtown area. These routes were each designed to make a full round-trip every hour. Users can get where they need to go in town as fast as they would in a car, and they can get back within an hour. Besides the high frequency of service, we've set the fare for these routes at just 50 cents. Whether you're a visitor coming in on the train or C&J, a resident with a car, or an employee of a Dover business, there's no better way to get around town.
The success of this project has been very rewarding. Dover has continuously worked towards reducing congestion downtown through offering transportation alternatives, but at the same time we do not want to totally discourage those that want the independence of driving. The Planners in Dover recognize that while we need to address our automobile dependencies we also need to be realistic about transportation limitations.
FastTrans is just one more way we can work to reflect the public's needs and desires. This project was developed as part of the City's Transportation Improvement Program, which is contained within the Capital Improvements Plan. This plan is about to come up for review again, and contains continuations of the FastTrans project as well as other new and exciting opportunities.