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July 24, 2013

Bus service to Salisbury Beach going strong

SALISBURY — Two years ago, there was no public transit option to and from Salisbury. Today, there are two successful bus runs that service the town and its beach.

The newest addition to Salisbury’s public transportation service, the 83 bus, is a summer route offered by the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority. The 83 bus has brought beachgoers twice a day from Lawrence to Hampton Beach and back since 1983 . In the past, Salisbury hadn’t opted to be part of the route, but this year that changed, according to MVRTA administrator Joseph Constanzo, and the 83 bus now stops at Salisbury Beach before heading to Hampton.

The 83 bus allows residents from Lawrence and Methuen, as well as those from Haverhill, Merrimac and Amesbury, to catch one of two buses to the beach each morning and return on either of two afternoon buses. They cost $2 per person per leg to and from Lawrence to Salisbury Beach, and $3 to Hampton. Discount fares are available for senior citizens, children ages 6 to 12, and those with approved handicap ID, bringing the price down to $1 per leg to Salisbury Beach and $1.50 to Hampton Beach.

Leaving Lawrence at 8:15 a.m. and traveling along Route 110 and making its stops along the way, the first bus gets to Salisbury Beach by 9:30 a.m. and to Hampton 10 minutes later.

The second bus leaves Lawrence at 10:45 a.m. and gets to Salisbury Beach by noon and Hampton by 1:10 p.m. Riders can head home from Salisbury at either 2 or 4:30 p.m., with the bus leaving Hampton Beach 10 minutes prior, getting back at 3:15 or 5:45 p.m., respectively.

The seasonal beach run is popular, Constanzo said, especially on hot summer days.

“Ridership is weather-related and on a rainy day like (Tuesday), there’ll only be a few people on it,” Constanzo said. “But all last week during the warm weather we had full buses of 40 to 45 (passengers). We send out a second bus (to accommodate demand) some days.”

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