Propane-powered bus system operates its 20th year

National Park Service celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Island Explorer bus system.

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propane-powered bus
Photo: Gregg Tehennepe

National Park Service celebrates the 20th anniversary of the propane-powered bus system, Island Explorer.

BAR HARBOR, MAINE – The Island Explorer bus system has carried nearly 8 million people to destinations in and near Acadia National Park for the past 20 years. On Friday June 14, 2019, the public is invited to a celebration that will highlight the unique partnership that supports the Island Explorer and the acquisition of 21 new buses that will carry Island Explorer into the future. The event will be hosted at Jordan Pond House lawn from 10:30-11 am, rain or shine.

“Over two decades and millions of passengers the Island Explorer has helped to reduce congestion and pollution, clearly becoming an integral part of the Acadia experience,” said Friends of Acadia President and CEO David MacDonald. “This latest purchase of new equipment, and continued support by the National Park Service, the State of Maine, L.L.Bean, Friends of Acadia and the broader community clearly signals that the Island Explorer will continue to play a vital role in helping to address traffic and transportation issues going forward.”

Initiated in 1999, the Island Explorer is a fare-free, propane-powered bus system with 10 routes that serve Acadia National Park and the surrounding communities on Mount Desert Island and the Schoodic Peninsula. The Island Explorer bus system is operated by Downeast Transportation Inc. in cooperation with the National Park Service, U.S. Department of Transportation, Maine Department of Transportation, Friends of Acadia, L.L.Bean, and surrounding municipalities. The goal of the bus system is to reduce traffic congestion, improve the visitor experience, and help preserve the scenic beauty and natural resources of Acadia National Park.

“The Island Explorer bus system has always been and will continue to be a very important part of the visitor experience at Acadia,” said Superintendent Kevin Schneider. “Fare-free transportation supports and benefits people across all our communities.” 

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