Island Explorer Celebrates 7 Millionth Passenger
The Island Explorer carries folks from all over the world around Acadia National Park.
Wednesday, a husband and wife from Yarmouth boarded the bus for what they thought would be a normal trip to Northeast Harbor.
But when they arrived, they were in for a big surprise.
Foot traffic is typically heavy on the trails of Acadia National Park.
And a lot of visitors get there on the well traveled Island Explorer.
"You don't have to worry about parking, you don't have to worry about keeping your eyes on the road, you don't have to remember where you left your car, and you can change your plans throughout the day."
Wednesday, the bus marked a major milestone.
Carrying its seven millionth passenger. Wayne and Charlene Ferguson of Yarmouth and Annie, their Yorkshire Terrier.
"You predicted this? I said yesterday wouldn't I love to be, that's pretty exciting. And then you were? Yeah!"
"When they said they were from Yarmouth, Maine I did a little jump inside because it's nice for people from Maine to be in their national park."
The Fergusons were awarded a free one-year membership to Friends of Acadia and several other prizes.
"Then I thought, oh I'm having a bad hair day, this isn't good. Haha."
Since the bus system started in 1999, park officials estimate the Island Explorer has eliminated more than two and a half million private car trips.
We're told it's also prevented more than 23,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions and 35 tons of smog-causing pollutants.
"It is incredible. It is amazing that many people are willing to use public transportation and understand how it makes the experience here so much more special."
"We absolutely love the bus service. We camp here, we leave the truck and we get on the bus at the campground."
"How long have you been married? 47 years..."
And newly crowned Mr. and Mrs. "Seven Million" have no plans of slowing down.
Continuing their yearly trips to a place they call home.
"The ocean, the mountains, the hiking, the biking the kayaking."
"I mean it's beautiful, you can't beat it. You've got it all."
The Island Explorer runs nine routes through Acadia National Park and surrounding communities.
Information and schedules are available online at exploreacadia.com.