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Community Connector buses receive $1.2M grant for a new transit center in Bangor

"Instead of constructing a giant parking garage, I think it's really smart that we focus on improving our transit system, and a transit center is a great step."

BANGOR, Maine — The City of Bangor has received a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation for a new transit center for the Community Connector public bus center.

The grant will go towards a new hub in Bangor. 

It will include an indoor area for passengers waiting for their bus, restrooms, and even a social media app. 

New technology will replace old systems like hole-puncher cards and paper tickets. 

The new bus transit center will be ADA compliant as well.

Bangor City leaders and the Community Connector bus officials are meeting to decide when construction for the new transit center will begin. According to the bus superintendent, it might be as soon as this spring.

Tiffany Lister has been a driver for the Community Connector public bus system for nine years. 

"We're small and we are personable, and we know our people...we still have hole punches for transfers," said Community Connector bus driver, Tiffany Lister.

The hole punch system and other old bus equipment will also change to a new and more efficient system. 

"A lot more technology. We'll let them know when the buses are coming, we'll have a platform," said Bus Superintendent, Laurie Linscott. 

According to Linscott, the 1.2 Million dollar grant comes from the federal government, but the City has to match it. It's a 20/80 split. The Community Connector public bus system will have to raise the 20% to go with the grant.

Stantec was the consulting company hired to study how to make the Community Connector service more responsive to the public need.

"It gives that third party conversation that it didn't come from me, it didn't come from a rider," Linscott said. 

Darcy Cooke is the community organizer for Food and Medicine, an organization that works to address the root causes of poverty.

"Instead of constructing giant parking garages I think it's really smart that we are focusing on improving our transit system, and I think a transit center is a great step in that direction," Cooke said.

The exact location of the new center has yet to be determined but it's expected to be somewhere in downtown Bangor. Part of Stantec's study found out that Pickering Square would be the ideal location.

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