VTrans seeks provider for bus link with Capital Region

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BENNINGTON — State transportation officials are looking for a service provider to run a new bus that would link southwestern Vermont to rail service in New York's Capital Region.

The new state-supported service would bring riders from Bennington and Manchester to the Amtrak rail station in Rensselaer, N.Y.

Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) issued a request for proposals on April 18 and bids are due on May 10.

The service would be branded and operated as an Amtrak Thruway Service bus connection with inter-line ticketing, according to the bid specifications. Under that system, a passenger would be able to buy a single ticket for travel.

The contractor would be required to make a minimum of two stops in Manchester and up to two in Bennington, as well as CDTA's Albany-Rensselaer Amtrak station, followed by the Greyhound Station and the Albany Airport, according to the bid specifications. The service would be offered seven days a week and two round-trips per day are anticipated. Each bus would offer free Wi-Fi internet and AC power outlets to riders.

The agency "expects fares and other revenue to contribute approximately 15 to 20 percent of service costs by the second year of this contract" and to see "ridership and revenue growth over time such that this service meets VTrans goals for Intercity Service performance within two years of initiating operations," the bid states. Those standards include the number of passengers boarding per trip (acceptable 1.64 and successful, 3.28) and the subsidy per trip (acceptable $60 and successful, $30. "Failure to achieve these thresholds on an annual basis may result in the termination of this service."

Reach staff writer Edward Damon at 802-447-7567, ext. 111 or @edamon_banner.

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