Seven Days a Week Service Planned
The new Flex bus will begin serving seven Lower/Outer Cape towns every half hour seven days a week, beginning June 1. The Cape Cod RTA has announced that Flex will start running at 6am from the Chamber of Commerce in Harwich Port on the northbound route and, from Dutraâ??s Market in North Truro on the southbound route.
The last bus in either direction will reach its destination about 10pm. The bus will travel through Harwich, Brewster, Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet and Truro. Connecting service to the bus stop near MacMillan Wharf, Provincetown Airport and Cape Cod National Seashore beaches will be provided by the Provincetown/North Truro Shuttle.
When the buses roll June 1, it will be the culmination of several years of persistent planning by community leaders, the RTA, the towns, the state and the Cape Cod National Seashore, said RTA Administrator Joseph Potzka. The anticipation is running very high.
The New Buses Are Here
The Flex service will use 12 new, compact buses purchased for the RTA by the Cape Cod National Seashore for $3.4 million. All of the buses (with clean-burning engines) have arrived on Cape from the builder in California.
Flex operating costs will be underwritten by the seven served towns, state and federal grants and passenger fares. The seven days a week Flex schedule will be in effect through Labor Day. During the late fall, winter and spring, buses will run less frequently, every day except Sunday. When the Shuttle suspends operation in mid October, Flex buses will go directly to MacMillan Wharf in Provincetown.
Two Types of Bus Service
The bus will follow its usual route, picking up and dropping off passengers at designated stops. But it can also Flex off its regular route to serve people who have difficulty getting to a regular stop. The driver will re-route the bus to locations within 3/4 of a mile of the usual route. Flex passengers must make off-route reservations at least two hours in advance, and there must be time available in the schedule for the flex option to work.
Flex trips will be limited. Time in the schedule must be balanced for all passengers. Flex may be unable to make off-route trips to some rural areas if the roads do not meet standards for safe operation.
Dollar Fare Recommended
While fares have yet to be formally set, the RTA is hoping to make all Flex rides a dollar or less, no matter how far a passenger rides. People 60 and older, and people with disabilities, would ride for half price or 50 cents each way.
If a passenger holds a reservation for an off-route trip - to a starting point or destination within 3/4 of a mile there would be a dollar surcharge, 50 cents for those 60 and older and people with disabilities. An RTA subcommittee that oversees fares has recommended new lower fares across the RTA bus system in a simplification move designed to attract new riders. Final say rests with the agency's advisory board that will meet later this month.
More information is available at these sites:
Flex service (includes route maps)
Cape Cod Transit Authority
Cape Cod Transit Task Force
Cape Cod National Seashore
Cape Cod Commission
The bus is available for public events and demonstrations, download form here.