DEVENS — Once a week or so, Peter Lowitt leaves his motor vehicle at home in West Concord. Instead of driving, he walks to the train station, takes the train to Ayer and hops on a shuttle to his Devens office.
It is a commute almost 20 years in the making.
The last leg of his morning commute is the newest cog in the journey.
The Devens Regional Shuttle Service got underway in April. Between 90 and 100 people use it over the week, said the director of the Devens Enterprise Commission.
The shuttle service, which began in April, is run by the Montachusett Regional Transit Authority, MART. It brings workers from Fitchburg and Leominster to their 12-hour-a-day jobs in Devens. It also allows reverse commuters to take the train by picking passengers up in Ayer or Shirley.
Ayer and Shirley residents can use the service for shopping and medical appointments during the day.
Businesses in Devens fund about one-third of the cost, a tax-deductible expense. They need workers. Workers in Fitchburg and Leominster need jobs.
Overall unemployment levels are down, but there are pockets of disparity, said Thatcher Kezer, senior vice president of Devens Mass Development.
“Fitchburg and Leominster have a population looking for these types of jobs,” Kezer said. “There is no public transportation to get them there.”
Devens businesses are advertising for jobs. “We have to make sure there is an ample supply of workers for these new positions,” he said.
Ayer and Shirley designated their state Department of Transportation assessment for the shuttle service, Lowitt said. Mass Development and the Devens Enterprise Commission also contribute.
Federal money accounts for a third of the support.
Some of the shuttle service is on demand. Workers in Fitchburg and Leominster who need to get to weekend shifts notify MART in advance and will be picked up and dropped off at their homes.
During the week, the scheduled shuttle runs stop at designated areas and can be flagged down. The cost is a modest $2 a ride.
When Lowitt first arrived in Devens in 1999, he saw the need for train service to allow for reverse commuters. The businesses would need to attract Boston-area talent.
He and others, including a legislative delegation, got busy.
The Fitchburg Line Working Group secured $250 million in federal transportation funding to improve passenger service on the commuter rail.
Businesses and individuals can make tax-deductable donations to support the shuttle through the Regional Jobs Project Fund at the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts.
Follow Anne O’Connor on Twitter @a1oconnor.