Transportation Access & Cost in Washington County Transportation Access & Cost in Washington County

Workforce Transit Options

Rural working-age adults in Washington and Aroostook County, particularly those in lower socioeconomic brackets, often find themselves trapped in a financial Catch-22:  they need a car to get a job, but they need a job to get a car.  In addition, many would be unable to keep their current jobs if they were unable to drive or find a ride.  Current routes and schedules for public transit do not adequately serve the regional business community and its workforce.

If transit operations could be revamped to better meet the needs of rural work-ready adults (while continuing to serve the primary customer base of contracted social service agency clients), the economic ripple effects would be widespread:

Innovative Rural Transit Services Report CoverGroWashington-Aroostook surveyed the best programs and practices across the nation to determine strategies that might help to expand workforce access to public transportation in Washington County.  According to "A Synthesis of Transit Practice", a 2011 national study that documents innovative rural transit services, by the Transit Cooperative Research Program, the major factors driving innovation in rural public transit programs include:

Alternative service delivery innovations offer the greatest potential to rapidly adapt Washington County’s existing rural public transit system to better serve the needs of regional businesses and their workforce.  

GROWashington-Aroostook developed a PowerPoint presentation of model policies and programs and an annotated resource sheet to highlight some that have worked well for other rural regional transit systems. For more information on these ideas or to join the Working Group in Washingotn and Hancock Counties please contact Judy East at WCCOG (454-0465), Sandie Dubay at Healthy Acadia, Linda Belfiore at WHCA, or Sandi Duchesne at GreenLight Solutions LLC.

Many of these initiatives would be relatively easy, quick, and inexpensive to implement in Maine.  For example, The Windham Region in Southeastern Vermont documents (Windham Region Mobility Study, 2012) how they were able to significantly expand transit service hours, routes, and operational efficiency by harnessing a creative multi-organizational mix of existing transportation assets, volunteers, and organizational resources, rather than developing a traditional transit service expansion plan which might have taken years or even decades to fully implement.

Alternative Service Delivery Ideas

Innovative strategies and practices could greatly enhance the current level of service for all transit operations in Washington County, particularly in their capacity to serve working-age adults.  Several alternative service ideas from other places are summarized below from the research.  They all have some potential to expand access to public transportation and workforce development in Washington County.Baltimore County Ride Transit Report Cover