Bradford, Vt., area transit discussing getting back on fixed schedule, seeks input

Valley News Correspondent
Published: 9/7/2022 11:03:57 PM
Modified: 9/7/2022 11:00:10 PM

BRADFORD, Vt. — Tri-Valley Transit, the public-transit provider for Vermont’s Addison, Orange and northern Windsor counties, wants to expand bus service in the Bradford area starting in October and is requesting public comment on its intended proposal in two different sessions, with the first happening Thursday at the Bradford Town Office.

The proposal would see the Bradford Area Circulator, which implemented a “by request” service during the pandemic, return to a deviated, fixed-route schedule with service between Fairlee and Wells River and to Woodsville and North Haverhill. Tri-Valley spokesman Mike Reiderer said the nonprofit is seeking input from the public on the proposed schedule but also hopes to use the meetings as an opportunity to educate riders on how best to use the service to fit their individual needs.

Reiderer said in a phone call Tuesday that ridership, which he noted dropped significantly during the pandemic, had been ticking up over the last few months and that putting a fixed schedule into place would allow his company to provide “more efficient and more reliable” service than the by-request service allowed.

Reiderer noted that the circulator route tends to attract riders looking to complete errands like grocery shopping or doctor appointments and that Tri-Valley designed the new schedule to fit those needs.

“We’ve been working on this for months and months, talking with different community groups and county officials to try to come up with the best possible schedule,” Reiderer said. “We’ve talked with drivers, riders and staff to see where the demands are and what people are looking for, so we feel like this (schedule) is pretty good.”

The proposed route expansion comes at a time when Upper Valley residents are still feeling the strain of elevated gas prices. According to data from AAA, the average price of a gallon of gas in New Hampshire as of Sept. 7 was $3.79, about 3 cents higher than the national average (Grafton County’s average price was even higher at $3.89).

Vermont’s current average is $3.93 (Orange County’s average sits at $4.08). Both Vermont’s and New Hampshire’s averages have increased more than 25% from where they were a year ago, offering another reason for some in the Upper Valley to forgo driving themselves and opt for public transit.

It’s a predicament that Reiderer feels helps Tri-Valley promote its service.

“I’m not going to say that we like to see gas prices go up,” Reiderer said. “But it certainly helps push people to public transit.”

Tri-Valley has steadily increased its available routes and service in the Bradford area since last year. In August 2021, the organization opened the Upper Valley Community Transportation Center on Route 25 near Bradford that houses eight Tri-Valley buses while also opening a $3.6 million, “net zero” bus depot behind the Bradford Park-and-Ride in September.

After the bus depot’s opening, Reiderer said commuter growth in the Upper Valley was “outstanding,” noting that Tri-Valley administered 25,000 rides in the region in 2019. Despite commuter numbers not yet returning to pre-pandemic levels, demand for public transit options in the Upper Valley remains strong, hence Tri-Valley’s recommended expansion.

“The demand has really exceeded the capacity of just the bus running around and getting people when they call in,” Reiderer said.

There are two public meetings for the Bradford Area Circulator’s suggested route expansion. The first starts at 6 p.m. on Thursday at the Fairlee Town Office and the second meeting is at the Bradford Town Office next Thursday, also starting at 6 p.m.

Both meetings will also be accessible on Zoom and a link can be found online at

Ray Couture can be reached at

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