The Student Government Association (SGA) announced that the Concord Coach Lines stop at the College would be reinstated on Nov. 5.
Originally a popular mode of transportation for students traveling to and from Boston and Portland, the coach line ended their service to the College at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic due to a driver shortage. The company concluded that the College was no longer a profitable stop to make, and decided to terminate the stop.
Nischal Khatri, SGA Vice-Chair of Equity and Inclusion, explained to The Colby Echo why the bus stop is so important to students.
“Many students have cars on campus,” he said. “However, not every student has the privilege of mobility, which stems from the lack of adequate transportation here at Colby. For many [first-generation low-income] students, international students, and students who don’t have cars, [lack of] transportation to major cities such as Boston or Portland is a substantive hurdle to [traveling].”
Eliza Pohle `22 took the Concord Coach down to Boston South Station in the fall of 2019. Pohle was returning home to Connecticut for the weekend and did not have a car at the time.
“The experience was great,” she recounted. “That was when it was still making stops at the old [Athletic Center], and we made a stop in Augusta and a stop in Portland. It was very peaceful, and very on time.”
Will Bedingfield `22 took the Concord Coach several times during his first year.
“They gave me pretzels and water,” he remembered. “It was a nice touch. [I] would recommend [it] to other students. [It is a] smooth ride, and [it] is always on time.”
Sonia Lachter `22 told The Colby Echo that the Concord Coach has been helpful to her in her time at the College.
“I do not have a car, so I’ve been taking the Concord Coach,” she said. “It was hard not having the Concord Coach last year. Even though I’ve made friends with [students who have] cars — who can give me rides — I have to book my flights home much earlier than they know when they’ll be driving home, so I always coordinate my flights so I can take a bus to the Portland Jetport if needed.”
“But last year,” Lachter explained, “the bus didn’t come to Waterville, so I scheduled my flights around buses that arrived into Augusta, but I still had to rely on rides from friends to Augusta. It would have been a lot more expensive had I not had friends with cars.”
As pandemic restrictions relaxed and travel began to pick back up, students expressed concerns to Khatri that although the College’s Campus Life webpage advertised the Concord Coach as an option, it was not coming to Waterville. He talked to Director of Campus Life Jess Manno about this problem.
“Jess assured me that she and her team will request the Concord Coach services to come back to Colby again as the pandemic slows down,” Khatri explained.
SGA has also worked on improving transportation options for students who do not have their own cars. Khatri co-chairs a group called the SGA Accessibility Working Group with SGA President Lukas Alexander.
“Our goal [is] to alleviate the stress for students who lack their own transportation,” Khatri said.
This group has helped provide transportation to students for a day trip to Portland during fall break and a trip to Augusta for students who wanted to buy Halloween costumes.
“The SGA Accessibility Working Group is planning more trips around Maine with the goal that we can foster a sense of belonging through a sense of place,” Khatri said.
Maine and beyond are becoming more accessible to students as SGA works to improve student mobility and public transportation options.
~ Milo Lani-Caputo `23