Downeast Transportation, the organization that runs the fare free Island Explorer has decided to indefinitely postpone Island Explorer service for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2019, the bus system carried more than 648,000 passengers. Service would normally begin June 23rd on Mount Desert Island and Memorial Day weekend on the Schoodic Peninsula, and run through Columbus Day.

To meet social distancing guidelines issued by the State of Maine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Island Explorer buses could only carry 12 passengers each as compared to the normal capacity of 30 seated passengers and 14 standing. During busy times of the season, the bus system often operates at capacity and requires passengers to wait in queues for the next bus with room for riders.

“This is the most difficult decision I’ve had to make in my two decades with Downeast Transportation. We recognize that park visitors, residents, and commuters love the bus system, so we do not take this action lightly. But the safety of our employees and the general public is paramount. We’re confident that postponement is the right thing to do at this time.” said Paul Murphy, Executive Director at Downeast Transportation.

“Ensuring the health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and community members is the highest priority for Acadia National Park,” said Superintendent Kevin Schneider. “Postponing Island Explorer service at this time is the most prudent action to take.”

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