EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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January 16, 2013

Windham to withdraw from CART

Transit system leaders to seek reconsideration

(Continued)

CART directors yesterday said they expect Chester and Salem to continue in the system.

But George Sioras, Derry’s planning director, warned fellow directors his community could face tough budget decisions because of increased retirement system obligations.

“Potentially, there could be program cuts,” Sioras said.

Precise figures on ridership for Windham’s own van service weren’t immediately available.

Dennis Root is a volunteer driver with the Windham town service.

He said he takes a half dozen riders from Windham to shop at Walmart in Salem on Wednesday mornings.

Root picks them up at their homes and waits while they shop.

“I start picking them up about quarter to nine,” he said. “By the time I’ve got them all picked up, I drop them at the store about 10 o’clock. Then I pick them up at 11:30 and take them home.”

Root said other riders schedule trips to medical appointments through the handicapped-accessible town van. There’s also a surplus former police cruiser available for individual trips to cut down on gas.

“If I take you to a doctor’s appointment, I stay there,” Root said.

He said the riders appreciate the no-cost service.

“I think it’s a great thing for the people.”

Coish sees the town operated service as a better value for residents.

“When you call CART, you make a reservation and have to pay as much as $4, one way, and they will not sit and wait for you,” she said. “One trip to the doctor could cost you $8, and you would have to stay and wait for them to come back.”

Town officials have discussed using some of the $8,000 for stipends to attract drivers.

Town Administrator David Sullivan and other officials said they are unaware of any other New Hampshire community offering a similar service.

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