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March 17. 2013 12:56AM

Riders have high marks for service despite occasional bus breakdowns


Commuters returning to Nashua from Boston are helped with their luggage by the bus driver. (BENJAMIN C. KLEIN/Union Leader Correspondent)

NASHUA - Riding the Boston Express each day between Nashua and Boston, many commuters have had to endure mechanical problems on a bus. But despite the occasional breakdown, commuters interviewed by the New Hampshire Sunday News all agreed the professionalism and courtesy shown by bus employees and the convenience of the bus keeps them coming back.

Ruth Puopolo said she takes the bus to work everyday, leaving on the first bus out of Nashua to Boston in the morning and coming back at 5:20 p.m.

Puopolo said she was on a bus returning from Boston once when the wipers stopped working in a snowstorm, forcing the bus to pull over.

Despite being on the side of the road, with Boston just in view, Puopolo said the experience wasn't too bad because "they did the best they could. The bus drivers and staff are outstanding. They are awesome."

Puopolo said the quality of the buses remains consistent, and that she feels safe during her commute for the most part.

"It depends on the Massachusetts drivers, like the time in Lowell when the guy was going the wrong way down the road," said Puopolo, who added that her commute on a bad day is three hours and on a good day is just over an hour.

Vicky Jaffe said despite being on multiple buses that have been forced to pull over either due to police or mechanical issues, her commuting experience is still a positive one.

"Being pulled over has never been traumatic, never had to get out or anything, and we are always back on the road quickly. It is usually when a 'check engine' light goes on and needs to be checked," Jaffe said. "But the buses themselves are good quality, always clean, and the drivers are good."

Despite her appreciation of the bus service, Jaffe said she would still like to see commuter rail lines put in. "As much as I like the bus I would like to see rail. With bad weather it would be very helpful."

Sean Howell agreed that while his bus experience has been very positive and "is a well-run operation, with buses always on time, and makes you feel safe," he would still like to see a commuter train system.

Citing gas prices and a tough economy, Howell said he has noticed more people taking the bus then a few years ago.

Greg McIntosh said while he has never been on a bus that has broken down, the worst part of his commute is often his fellow commuter.

"The worst thing is some of the passengers who are clueless," McIntosh said, explaining that some people will recline the whole way back on their seat.

For many commuters like Al Llukan who ride the Express everyday, the commute is boiled down to traffic conditions.

"Some days are better than others," he said.


bklein@newstote.com


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