The RPC region is served by two regional public transit agencies: the Cooperative Alliance for Seacoast Transportation (COAST)
serving 11 communities in Rockingham, Strafford and York counties; and the Cooperative Alliance for Regional Transportation (CART) serving five communities in western Rockingham County. The RPC communities of Portsmouth and Newington are also served by the University of New Hampshire’s Wildcat Transit service, which is geared for student and faculty commuting needs and also open to the public.
Cooperative Alliance for Seacoast Transportation (COAST)
The Cooperative Alliance for Seacoast Transportation (COAST) is the public transportation provider in the Seacoast region and provides fixed route transit service in the RPC communities of Exeter, Stratham, Portsmouth and Newington. The system also serves Dover, Newmarket, Somersworth, Rochester, Farmington, and South Berwick, Maine. RPC staff serve on the COAST Board of Directors and Executive Committee, and provide planning assistance with rider surveys, GIS and demographic analysis, municipal outreach and regional transit coordination efforts.
In 2021 RPC and Strafford Regional Planning Commission completed a study of the economic impact of COAST transit services in the Greater Seacoast. Using an IMPLAN based economic model and methodology from the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) the study calculated the total economic impact of COAST services at $24.89 million for FY2019 as compared to COAST’s annual operating budget of $6.1 million. This represents a return of $4.08 for every public dollar invested. The study also conducted an extensive series of interviews with major employers, service sector employers, developers, and other professionals in health care, education, housing and social services to gain a broader understanding of transit’s role in the region, its strengths and its limitations.
Greater Derry-Salem Cooperative Alliance for Regional Transportation (CART)
The Greater Derry-Salem Cooperative Alliance for Regional Transportation (CART) is the public transportation provider in the Greater Derry-Salem region and provides demand response and flex route transit service in the RPC communities of Salem and Hampstead, as well as Derry, Londonderry and Chester outside the RPC region. The system also provides service two days per week to five medical facilities in Manchester. The system is the smallest and youngest public transit system in the state, though serves a critical need. RPC staff serve on the CART Board of Directors and Executive Committee, and provide assistance with route planning and service analysis, financial planning, Federal, local and private sector funding development, municipal outreach and regional transit coordination efforts.
The University of New Hampshire’s Wildcat Transit system provides extensive student and employee transportation service connecting the UNH Durham campus with neighboring communities of Newmarket, Dover, Madbury, Rochester, Newington and Portsmouth. Wildcat transit is also open to the general public. UNH Wildcat Transit staff participate in the RPC MPO Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and MPO Policy Committee. RPC staff provide periodic assistance with demographic analysis to meet FTA reporting requirements, and collaborate with Wildcat Transit and COAST on biennial rider surveys.