A local transportation program was discussed by the Board of Selectmen last week, as board members debated whether it serves as the right direction for the town.
The Cooperative Alliance for Regional Transportation (CART) serves six towns in the region – Windham, Salem, Londonderry, Derry, Hampstead and Chester.
The 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization provides curb-to-curb transportation for residents of all ages.
But some Selectmen aren't sold on its benefit to the town.
Board member Phil LoChiatto said that 64 percent of the CART trips, according to the program's Executive Director Lee Maloney, are for medical purposes.
"If we're basically subsidizing a medical transportation system the majority of the trips, I think we need to look at that and understand what that is," LoChiatto said. "What it comes down to is providing a fair service for the taxpayer for what they need. CART may or may not be the right application for that thing."
He interpreted CART as more of a taxi service than regional tranportion.
Chairman Bruce Breton questioned whether it would be more advantageous to pay a driver a set rate, using $10 per hour as an example.
Another board member, Roger Hohenberger, noted a rising cost in the town's contribution to CART, which he said is over $12,000 per year.
According to the CART website, the program started in 2006 and provided more than 10,000 rides in the first year and over 65,000 rides total. The program was established by the state legislature to meet a need for public transportation in communities.
A fixed-route bus service is also planned to run from Derry to Salem in the future.
Aside from towns helping to pay some of the CART bill, donations also assist with the operation costs.
Maloney, a Windham resident and Planning Board alternate, will be invited to the Dec. 17 Selectmen meeting to discuss the transportation program.
For more information on CART, visit here.