Island Bus System Rolls Out Improvements for Summer Season 

The Island Explorer Bus System has been turning its wheels to help visitors and locals explore the Acadia region for thirteen years.”Our first year we carried just a few thousand passengers and the goal was to get to a thousand passengers a day, now we frequently exceed during a peak period seven thousand passengers a day,” said Paul Murphy, with Downeast Transportation, the non-profit company that oversees the bus service.The propane powered buses help folks travel while protecting the environment by reducing the number of vehicles on the island’s roads.This year, the free service is coming back in a big way.Thanks to a one million dollar grant from retailer LL Bean, the bus system will extend its season.”Prior to L.L. Bean’s first donation our season ended on Labor Day. LL Bean allowed us to extend until Columbus Day, Murphy said.L.L. Bean first partnered with Island Explorer in 2009. To date the company has donated more than three million dollars.”We want people to get out, enjoy what they’re doing, give a quality experience through not only the gear they bring with them but the assets in which they explore it,” said L.L. Bean spokesperson Janet Wyper.Also new this season visitors and locals can explore Ellsworth. Island Explorer has added the city to its route transforming it into a destination”It will help the local economy, it will help all shoppers, people will now come to the island or go back to their campgrounds,” said Micki Sumpter, Director of the Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce.But for all those involved in the partnership, the main goal is to keep island explorer on the road to protect the beauty of Acadia.