Island Explorer on MDI back in service for summer, fall

Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 5:01 PM EDT
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TRENTON, Maine (WABI) - The Island Explorer bus service will be back in business for the summer and fall seasons starting on Thursday.

It provides Mount Desert Island visitors and residents free transportation to hiking trails, carriage roads, beaches, and in-town shops and restaurants.

It will be at full working capacity for the first time since the pandemic began more than two years ago.

”You know, we’re cautiously optimistic that it’s going to go smoothly and the virus is going to allow us to operate pretty close to what we’ve been accustomed to over the last 23 or 24 years,” said Paul Murphy, Downeast Transportation executive director.

It’s been a long road back to business as usual for the Island Explorer since it made the decision to not run out of pandemic concerns in 2020.

“At this time two years ago, it was dead here. Very quiet,” said Murphy.

The service did return last year, but on a reduced schedule.

“Last year, we didn’t cover Southwest Harbor and Tremont, or Mount Desert. This year, we’ve returned to those communities. We’re operating into the evening and just have generally more service on the road,” said Murphy.

A return to normal for 2022 is welcome by drivers and riders alike.

“This year, we’ve got pretty close to our hundred drivers, and it’s just a much different vibe. It’s lively. There’s lots to do. Judging by our feedback, it’s a big deal for both the park and the community. Twenty percent of our riders are local folks who use the Island Explorer to commute to work, to recreate, to get from point A-to-point B. Our mission is not just to reduce congestion in and around Acadia National Park, but within the general communities,” said Murphy.

For more information about the Island Explorer bus service, visit their website at

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