KENNEBUNK – The summertime Shoreline Explorer trolleys that operate from Lower Village Kennebunk to Wells – and around the beach on the way – will not operate this year because of a lack of drivers.
York County Community Action Corporation made the announcement late last week. The decision includes other routes as well.
The suspension of service for the 2022 season impacts the Blue 4b route from Lower Village to Wells Transportation Center, the Blue 4 route from Wells to Ogunquit and the Purple line shuttle, that runs from Perkins Cove in Ogunquit to Short Sands Beach in York.
“It is with great disappointment that we must inform our sponsors, supporters and riders that YCCAC has made the very difficult decision to suspend services for the season,” said York County Community Action Corporation Transportation Director Tom Reinauer. “We hope that you understand that this decision is not made lightly as we know it may impose a burden on some. However, without enough drivers to operate the vehicles, we simply cannot provide an efficient and effective service.”
Reinauer said the corporation was short 21 Class B CDL drivers if it were to provide full Shoreline Explorer service as it did prior to 2020. The service was suspended in the first summer of the pandemic and was six drivers short of the number needed to provide one daytime shift as it did in 2021.
Kennebunk, Kennebunk, and Arundel Chamber of Commerce Director Laura Dolce said the news is disappointing.
“A lot have been asking and were looking forward to it,” said Dolce, pointing out that the 4b trolley was particularly useful for beachgoers because of the limited number of parking spots at Kennebunk’s beaches. The trolleys also brought people to local businesses.
“Any time there is any kind of degradation of services in our extremely limited transportation systems it is a blow,” said Dolce. “It’s a shame.”
The Orange Line which runs between Sanford and Wells will continue to operate and will stop at Wells Beach for the summer season, and Reinauer said he is hopeful the frequency will be able to be increased.
Reinauer said the agency looked at ways it could retain the Blue and Purple lines this year but was unable to make it work.
“This was certainly not an easy decision, but without drivers in the seats, we can’t run the service,” Reinauer said.