More Blue Bus rides on horizon

The Souhegan Valley Transportation Collaborative’s “Blue Bus” has expanded its service to include rides for shopping all five days a week. Passengers are encouraged to try shopping on Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays when historically there have been fewer rides requested and more availability in the schedule. And new this year, pre-registered passengers can call by March 6 to request a ride to town elections on March 13.

Priority is given to rides for healthcare appointments including pharmacy pick-ups. Additionally, priority is given for rides requested by senior citizens and residents living with a disability. Other residents may use the service as space and the daily schedule allow.

Rides to social service agencies, town halls, local libraries, senior activity centers and local shopping destinations are also available. Local shopping destinations include Market Basket, Lorden Plaza, Granite Town Plaza, 222 Elm St. Plaza, Richmond (Ocean State) Plaza in Milford, and Walmart in Amherst and Hannaford’s on Coliseum Avenue in Nashua. Based on requests from Amherst and Hollis residents, the service will now include Market Basket at Westside Plaza in Nashua and the Harvest Market in Hollis as preferred local shopping destinations.

Rides to other shopping destinations, such as Target and the Nashua Mall, will be available depending on the daily schedule. In addition, rides for other purposes, such as going to the bank or barbershop, will be available if there is room in the daily schedule. Pre-registered passengers are encouraged to call and request a ride. SVTC works closely with their partners at the Nashua Transit System and together they will make every effort to accommodate requests within the limits of the service’s operating hours and available resources.

Souhegan Valley Rides is a curb-to-curb, dial-a-ride bus service available to residents of Amherst, Brookline, Hollis, Milford, Mont Vernon and Wilton.

The service is available Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., including travel time to and from the garage in Nashua. The first morning trip to Nashua will arrive no earlier that 10 a.m. and the last pick-ups to return home will leave Nashua no later than 4 p.m.. Passengers should schedule their appointments and plans around these times. Riders are asked to pay $2 each way. A free bus pass program, solely funded by donations, is available for eligible residents who cannot afford the bus fare.

Pre-registration is required and applications are available by calling 880-0100 ext 1or going to the website at www.SouheganValleyRides.org. Rides must be scheduled at least two business days in advance. When a scheduled ride is no longer needed, passengers are expected to call and cancel their ride, preferably, at least the day before the scheduled ride. The sooner scheduling changes can be made, the more efficient the service is for all passengers.

The wheelchair-accessible buses, drivers and call center operations are contracted from the Nashua Transit System. The Souhegan Valley Transportation Collaborative, a volunteer organization of representatives from the six participating towns, implemented and oversees Souhegan Valley Rides bus service. For more information, call 880-0100 ext 1 or visit www.SouheganValleyRides.org.