Regional Shuttle Service Begins in Devens
April 24, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Meggie Quackenbush, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2011 & 857-208-2777 (cell)
|(Left to right: Neil Angus, Devens Enterprise Commission; George Kahale, MART; Thatcher Kezer, MassDevelopment; Peter Lowitt, Devens Enterprise Commission; Sen. Jamie Eldridge; Mohammed Khan, MART; Robert Pontbriand, Town of Ayer)|
A new regional shuttle service connecting Devens, Ayer, Fitchburg, Leominster, and Shirley began this morning to supplement the region’s existing transportation offerings and provide the nearly 5,000 people who work in Devens with more convenient and affordable transportation to and from their workplaces. Beginning service just after Earth Day, the new shuttle represents the Devens business community’s commitment to promoting environmentally-friendly commuting for those who live and work in Devens.
“I want to thank Thatcher Kezer, Vice President of Devens for MassDevelopment, and the Montachusett Area Transit Commission for their hard work and vision in bringing this shuttle to Devens, connecting people in Ayer, Shirley, Fitchburg and Leominster,” said State Senator Jamie Eldridge. “Increasing access to shuttle services in every part of my district is a big priority of mine, and I was happy to join my Senate colleagues to vote for legislation earlier this month that will invest $400 million over two years to improve local infrastructure, including $30 million in RTA investments to improve local bus and shuttle services.”
The Montachusett Regional Transit Authority (MART), headquartered in Fitchburg, will operate the new service, which will run between Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Ayer and Fitchburg with intermediate stops that include Devens and the Ayer and Shirley MBTA stations. The shuttle will feature daily morning and evening runs; visit the Devens Enterprise Commission (DEC) website for details about the shuttle schedule and stops.
“The timing of MassDevelopment’s launch of the new Devens shuttle is ideal,” said Fitchburg Mayor Stephen L. Dinatale. “Local constituents have been asking for a transportation connection between Fitchburg and Devens, so this new service will fill an important need and provide access to substantial employment opportunities located within the Devens campus.”
Funding for the shuttle service comes from a public-private partnership. Selectmen from the two towns approved measures to support the shuttle service with $24,404 coming from Ayer and $33,901 from Shirley. MassDevelopment and the Devens Enterprise Commission will each contribute $10,000 to support the service, and Nypro, a Jabil Company with a major Devens presence, will contribute $20,000.
“The DEC is pleased to partner with MassDevelopment, the communities of Ayer and Shirley, and our business collaborators to launch this shuttle service. I am looking forward to being a data point and using the service myself,” said Peter Lowitt of the Devens Enterprise Commission. “When I first came to Devens 18 years ago, I recognized the need for a viable reverse commute. Now we're on the verge of realizing that goal. It's a good thing we fast-tracked it.”
Located in north-central Massachusetts and managed by MassDevelopment, Devens is home to a varied mix of businesses, government organizations, and nonprofits employing nearly 5,000 people. Created by statute in 1993 to support business growth and attract economic development opportunities in the region, the 4,400-acre site features fast-track permitting and other incentives for businesses. The former military installation is recognized today as a national model for military base redevelopment. Along with its business tenants, the Devens community also includes more than 2,100 acres of recreation and open space, private residences, schools, and a network of human and social services providers.
“MassDevelopment and the Devens Enterprise Commission are thrilled to work with the Towns of Ayer and Shirley, as well as the Devens business sector, to provide affordable and efficient transportation options to the area’s workforce,” said MassDevelopment Senior Vice President for Devens Thatcher Kezer. “We are excited that this service has launched and expect that it will become a critical part of our continued commitment to the region’s growth and vitality.”
MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2016, MassDevelopment financed or managed 352 projects generating investment of more than $4 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create about 8,200 jobs and build or rehabilitate about 4,200 residential units.