PROVINCETOWN — The select board appointed the new assistant town manager for communications and operations, Dan Riviello, as the town’s representative to the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority on Monday and gave him a specific charge: a late-night bus route to Truro and Wellfleet.
Many people who work in Provincetown’s restaurants and bars don’t get off work in time to catch the last bus at 11 p.m., said select board member Louise Venden. They have to pay taxi fare to get home every night, or they wait for a ride with co-workers or employers.
The board had already decided to add transportation to the agenda for its upcoming housing workshops because so many Provincetown workers live in Truro or Wellfleet. The bus links between the communities don’t reflect the hours that people actually work, board members said.
“What I’ve seen in the past is if the town is willing to put in some money for a pilot, and you can prove that there’s ridership and demand, the regional transit authority will absorb that route going forward,” said Town Manager Alex Morse. Service later into the night and more frequent service in the shoulder seasons are both possibilities for a year-long pilot program, Morse said.
Chair Dave Abramson said that when bus frequency is reduced in the fall, the earliest bus becomes the only ride into town for many people. Some employers will pay people extra to start work early, but others don’t, said Abramson — which means some people have to come to town extra early and simply wait for their shifts to start.
With budget season approaching, Abramson said that now is the time to find out what the town’s contribution might need to be to make such a pilot route happen.
“Once it becomes reliable transportation, I think people will start using it,” said Abramson. “It’s money well spent.”
Venden also brought up the possibility of a shuttle service within the town that could carry people from the parking lots to the commercial strip. With parking spots scheduled to be removed from the municipal parking lot for the new Stellwagen Bank Visitor Center, and spots potentially being added along the Route 6 right-of-way, shuttling people from their cars to their destinations could become more important.
“There are a lot of things that CCRTA should be exploring,” said Venden. “Particularly for us — we’re a robust community with businesses that need workers, and we’re willing to subsidize transportation because of limited parking.”
The town has been hoping for bus improvements and not getting them for a while, Venden added. Morse pointed out that there hasn’t been consistent town representation at the CCRTA’s meetings.
“I’m hopeful that you can move this forward,” Venden said to Riviello.