Coastal Trans Inc. (Coastal Trans) will discontinue all transportation services effective April 22, 2016. Coastal Trans has been in operation since 1983 and has been the Maine Department of Transportation (Maine DOT) designated regional transportation provider for Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc counties and the towns of Brunswick and Harpswell for more than 25 years.
The Coastal Trans Board of Directors regrets that Coastal Trans no longer has the financial capacity to serve the hundreds of low-income and disabled individuals served faithfully since 1983. Lee Karker, Executive Director of Coastal Trans, said, “The Board and staff of Coastal Trans are deeply grateful to the many individuals, civic organizations, foundations and towns that have supported Coastal Trans since 1983. ”
Services that will no longer be provided by Coastal Trans are general public transportation with fares paid directly by riders; including the Brunswick Explorer in Brunswick and transportation by appointment in other towns. The Transportation Coupon Program, a program that subsidizes taxi fares for seniors and people with disabilities, and the Midcoast RideFinder, a guide to transportation options in the region, will no longer be administered by Coastal Trans. Coastal Trans will issue refunds for any advance payments on deposit.
Maine DOT has identified transportation providers that will assume responsibility for covering the region currently covered by Coastal Trans including meeting public transportation needs and the continued operation of the Brunswick Explorer and Transportation Coupon Program. MaineCare transportation will continue to be provided by the regional MaineCare broker, the Mid-Coast Connector in Belfast.
Prior to 2013 Coastal Trans was the designated MaineCare transportation provider for the same region it served with general public transportation on behalf of Maine DOT. This system of coordinated transportation allowed MaineCare members, Maine DHHS clients and the general public to ride together in the same vehicles. It made it possible for regional transportation providers to provide transportation in a service-effective and cost-effective way.
In August 2013 Maine DHHS established a new system of providing MaineCare transportation throughout the state; a system of regional brokers that do not actually provide transportation like Coastal Trans, but sub-contract with a variety of transportation companies. An unfortunate consequence of the new brokerage system is that it has become more difficult and more costly to provide public transportation in rural Maine. Over the past two years Coastal Trans has experienced a dramatic decline in revenues from transporting MaineCare clients to medical services, the backbone of its long-standing business model.