Acadia National Park and supporters appear to be succeeding in their campaign to persuade visitors to leave behind their cars when they enter the park.
According to new federal statistics, the Island Explorer, the park’s fare-free shuttle system, carried a record 503,224 passengers in 2014. It was the first time the system cracked 500,000 passengers for its estimated 3.5-month season of operation.
“The bus ridership was way up this year,” said Stuart West, chief ranger for Acadia National Park, in an e-mail. He referred questions about Island Explorer numbers to Paul Murphy, general manager for Downeast Transportation, Inc., which runs the Acadia bus shuttle.
The bus passenger statistics, made available on Tuesday on a National Park Service web site, show that passengers on the shuttle system increased by about 15 percent from 438,737 in 2012.
Island Explorer operates from late June through Columbus Day. The propane-powered buses have run since 1999, or 16 years, carrying 141,000 riders the first year. Continue reading