10 million riders: Nashua Transit System celebrates major milestone

NASHUA — City resident Louis Cole should have no worries getting around town for the next year, as he received a one-year Nashua Transit System pass for being the 10 millionth rider.

This milestone came as part of Ride Transit Week, which continues through Friday with featuring various special activities.

Tuesday celebrated Cole as the 10 millionth rider.

He was caught off guard when he received a phone call alerting him of the news, but sure enough, he showed up Tuesday morning to a crowd of city officials who greeted him with a massive bus pass.

“I wasn’t expecting it at all,” Cole said.

Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess said Cole will not need to carry the giant pass along with him each time he steps up onto a city bus. Nonetheless, this big symbol of appreciation marked the milestone for NTS, who transports about 460,000 riders annually. Nashua Transportation Manager Camille Pattison sees this as a major achievement.

“We’re really excited to celebrate this with the community, and we’re hoping that people take the opportunity to come out and try transit if they haven’t used it before,” Pattison said.

Those interested in taking her up on that advice may ride free on the fixed-route system Thursday during Try Transit Day. She also said for those who ride city transit on a regular basis, this week benefits them with special treats and snacks.

“We have been running the bus service here since 1984, and serving many people across the community,” Donchess said.

Additionally, he said NTS now has a broader system that has expanded through the years. More recently, NTS has expanded to transport riders all the way to Walmart in Amherst. Officials also reconfigured a downtown route to serve BAE Systems and the surrounding neighborhood in a more effective way.

Donchess also said the city is trying to make the system cleaner, by introducing some buses that use compressed natural gas instead of diesel fuel or gasoline. This fall, two electric-hybrid buses will join the NTS fleet, featuring drive trains manufactured by BAE.

“What we want is people to be able to live in Nashua who either don’t want to have a car, or don’t have one yet, who can work and live in our community,” Donchess said.

Adam Urquhart may be contacted at 594-1206, or at aurquhart@nashuatelegraph.com.