CRT, nicknamed “The Current,” runs 15 bus lines in Windham and Windsor counties,, as well as Lebanon and Hanover, NH. Following the Connecticut River, the Current, based in Rockingham, runs north to White River Junction, northwest to Rutland, and as far south as Brattleboro. The DVTA is already the state’s third largest fixed route bus service, and with its new management role, the DVTA will have its hands full.
“Part of our job at CRT will be to help with capital, budgeting, and marketing, and provide technical assistance wherever needed,” said DVTA General Manager Randy Schoonmaker. “They have a great crew there with quality staff who work hard. It’s a Vermont thing to do, like neighbor helping neighbor, to temporarily help another transit company.”
DVTA agreed to take over management of CRT after performing a management review on behalf of the Vermont Department of Transportation in June, aimed at making suggestions for future operations of the company. At the time, CRT was searching for a new executive director, and following DVTA’s review, VTrans recommended that CRT sign an agreement allowing DVTA to stay on in a management capacity.
The agreement makes the DVTA responsible for the entire operation of management services for CRT, while reporting to the CRT board of directors, which retains full control of the company. This isn’t the first time the DVTA has acted as a managing entity. In 2003 the DVTA took over management of the BeeLine in Brattleboro for nine months.
The DVTA will take on management of CRT at a time when construction of a new facility is just around the bend, as well as the MOOver’s busiest time of year. “We’re going to be challenged for time, as this coincides with the peak of construction on our new building and as we’re heading into our heavy business season,” said Schoonmaker, “but this is a great opportunity to work with other people to build a stronger transit community throughout the state.”
The management deal is not-for-profit and the state will reimburse the DVTA for any expenses. According to Schoonmaker, Rebecca Gagnon will take on the role of general manager for CRT. Gagnon is a former DVTA operations manager who administered the Brattleboro BeeLine for several years, and has a lengthy career in the transportation industry.
“We signed a one-year agreement because one year gives us the time we need to go in there and assist in any way we can,” said Schoonmaker.