BENNINGTON -- A new bus service running between Burlington and Albany, N.Y. with a daily stop in Bennington begins Monday.
Vermont Translines, a division of Premier Coach, based in Milton, will have a 45-foot coach bus leaving Bennington from the terminal at 215 Pleasant Street on a daily basis at 11:30 a.m. The bus will return at 3:30 p.m. and head up Route 7 through Rutland and on to Burlington and Colchester.
Chip Desautels, assistant general manager for Vermont Translines, said the bus will the Albany Airport at 12:35 p.m. and be at the Greyhound bus terminal by 1 p.m. The route is designed for people who want to go to destinations beyond the Albany area. It will also appeal to those who want to leave upstate New York and come to Vermont, be it as far as Bennington, or the Burlington area. The route also includes a stretch from Rutland to White River Junction over Route 4. He said a trip from Bennington to Albany would cost about $12.50.
More information on the routes and rates can be found at the company's website, www.vttranslines.com.
Desautels said the coach buses contain space for luggage and are equipped with restrooms and wireless Internet connections.
Vermont Translines is offering the route because it won a competitive bid put out by the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) said Dave Pelletier, public transportation coordinator for the agency.
The grant is from the Federal Transit Administration, which offers the state money to assist smaller, more local bus companies such as Green Mountain Express in Bennington, said Pelletier. To get the grant, the state must also endeavor to keep a bus service to and from large metro areas.
He said over the past 10 years such "high" level service has dwindled, making it difficult for someone in New York City to reach parts of Vermont via bus without staying overnight. The grant to fund this line was for $400,000 to be spread over two years, but how much is doled out depends on what the bus company takes in from fares.
Pelletier said the goal of the grants is to create a demand for the service so it can sustain itself. He said up until about 2005 there was a bus service that went from Albany to the Burlington area, but it dropped off, leaving those who would want it with little in the way of options.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.