Riders fight to keep COAST Route 7 in service
EXETER- Dozens of COAST Route 7 riders attended a public hearing at Exeter Public Library Wednesday evening to fight to keep their bus line running. Many in the crowd were in wheelchairs or accompanied by a service dog, because it's a route used by dozens with disabilities.
Rebecca Sousa is legally blind; she takes the bus from Portsmouth to Exeter to visit family. She attended the meeting to show her support and do what she can to keep the bus in service.
"Without Route 7, there's going to be lots of people who cannot travel, people who are disabled can't go wherever they want to go," Sousa said.
COAST Executive Director Rad Nichols says Route 7 is their most expensive route, but the cost is going down because of an increase in ridership. Of the six communities serviced by Route 7, only three currently contribute funding.
According to Nichols, COAST can no longer afford to operate Route 7, but they are looking at ways to run at least an abbreviated version of service.
A fourth and final public hearing is schedueled for Thursday, April 2nd at 3:30pm at the Exeter Public Library.