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PEABODY — Nearly 300 riders who depend on bus service to Boston will have to find a new way to get to work.
Coach Co., which provides three daily round trips from the James McVann-Louis O’Keefe Memorial Rink on Lowell Street to Haymarket Square, Government Center, Park Street, St. James Avenue and Copley Square, will end the service on Friday, April 19.
“Quite a few commuters will be disappointed, but we can’t afford to do it anymore,” said Benton Smith, owner and president of the New Hampshire bus line.
At its peak, there were as many as 800 riders on the Boston runs, but that number has dwindled by 62 percent.
Ridership has dropped, Smith said, as more employees telecommute, particularly on Mondays and Fridays when there are lots of empty seats on the buses.
The other factor that has contributed to the loss of riders is the lack of parking. For years, North Shore customers had parked at the 605-space Newburyport Park and Ride on Storey Avenue. But Benton said the lot is often filled by 4 a.m. by long-term parkers going to Logan International Airport, leaving no room for commuters.
Coach Co. will refund tickets after April 19 and promised to issue them in a timely manner.
The end of the bus service comes at the worst time for North Shore commuters. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) plans to rebuild the Chelsea Viaduct, the elevated highway from Revere to Boston, and the Tobin Bridge. The work is expected to take two years.
As a result, the MassDOT project will reduce the northbound travel lanes from three to two starting in early April and the southbound lanes will shrink to two in late April. While the work is expected to be done overnight, the state said there will be impacts.