Now boarding: Amtrak connection to Manchester
The Vermont Shires Connector started running last week, with stops in Manchester, Bennington, the Amtrak station in Rensselaer, N.Y., the Greyhound Bus Terminal in Albany and Albany International Airport. The bus service is provided by Premier Coach and will operate for at least two years, Premier Coach assistant general manager Chip Desautels said.
The service makes it possible for would-be visitors to buy tickets on Amtrak's web site, board the train in New York City, then transfer to the bus at Rensselaer -- all without getting in a car.
And if they want to drive around Manchester when they arrive, that's possible, too.
Langway Chevrolet Volkswagen of Manchester, a short walk from the bus stop at the back of the Northshire Bookstore, has a fleet of vehicles for rent, and will make them available to passengers arriving in town, general manager Russ Bauer said Friday.
"We've always had a rental fleet, and it made sense to help the community and hop on board," Bauer said.
The bus runs twice daily, with departures from the tour bus lot at 5:55 a.m. and 1:40 p.m. and from the Albany airport at 9:35 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., and takes about 2 hours, 45 minutes to make the complete trip.
Manchester stops include the Hampton Inn and Suites and the Equinox Resort. From there, the bus stops at the Bennington Station restaurant before bringing passengers to trains, buses and planes in Albany.
Desautels said rather than use smaller vehicles and run the risk of turning passengers away, the company decided to commit a full-sized bus and chart ridership. "We didn't want to say no" to anyone who wants to buy tickets," he said.
Reach Journal editor Greg Sukiennik at 802-490-6000.
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