SALEM, N.H. — Starting Monday, a local company will offer an east-west transit service unique to Southern New Hampshire.
It’s called East West Express — and it’s an initiative that Flight Line of Salem and transportation officials hope really takes off.
The company, located on Pelham Road, was awarded a $2.4 million grant last year to operate a private van service linking communities between Manchester and Portsmouth. The service will provide 20 round trips daily.
That means residents of Southern New Hampshire — from Plaistow to Salem — will benefit, according to Flight Line president Jamie Dowd.
They can grab a ride to Manchester-Boston Regional Airport to catch a flight or to Portsmouth to go shopping and take advantage of its many restaurants and hotels, leaving their car at home, he said.
“This is the first regularly scheduled service to connect the seacoast to Manchester,” Dowd said. “A lot of people have been asking for this for some time.”
The new service is part of a public-private partnership between Flight Line, the New Hampshire Department of Transportation and the federal government. It is expected to provide affordable and efficient transit along a route that has never had public transportation.
It will cost $19 per person for a one-way trip between Manchester and Portsmouth, $9 for a trip between Epping and Manchester, and $10 for a trip between Epping and Portsmouth. Discounts are available for senior citizens and Medicare recipients.
A frequent rider program offers trips for $10 each way between Manchester and Portsmouth and $5 from Epping, roughly halfway between the two cities and a short distance from Kingston and Newton.
The service will also provide another alternative for people commuting to jobs in Manchester and Portsmouth — two of the largest cities in the state, according to Fred Butler, the DOT’s public transportation administrator.