Greater Portland Metro Bus
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|Headquarters||114 Valley Street, Portland, ME|
|Locale||Greater Portland, Maine|
|Service area||Portland, Brunswick, Gorham, Falmouth, Freeport, South Portland, Westbrook and Yarmouth|
|Service type||Bus service, express bus service|
|Operator||Greater Portland Transit District|
|Chief executive||Greg Jordan (as of September 2013)|
|Website||Greater Portland METRO|
The Greater Portland METRO is a regional public transportation system in Southern Maine. Operated by the Greater Portland Transit District, a transit district comprising Portland, Westbrook, and Falmouth, the system also covers Brunswick, Gorham, South Portland, Yarmouth and Freeport. METRO was formed in 1966.
METRO is Maine's largest public transportation agency. The transit system's annual ridership was 1,850,686 in 2017.
As of 2016, METRO operated a fleet of eighteen compressed natural gas (CNG) buses and fourteen diesel buses. It operates and maintains the only CNG fuel station in the state of Maine.
The ancestor to the METRO, the Portland and Forest Avenue Railroad Co., began operating horse-drawn lines in 1860. They were upgraded to streetcars in 1891, which operated for fifty years before the company switched to buses. The company's new parent, Central Maine Power, sold the buses to Portland Coach Company in 1944.
Concerned about the viability of transit in the region, the Greater Portland Transit District was created in 1966. Three years later it purchased the struggling Portland Coach Company, which became METRO in 1976. Several municipalities serviced by METRO withdrew during an age of contraction; service to Yarmouth and Cape Elizabeth ended in 1978, South Portland withdrew in 1983 (although METRO continues to run select buses to the city), and the Portland School Department began operating its own buses in 1985.
The system began to turnaround in the late 1990s, and in 2004 it expanded to Falmouth, which later joined the Greater Portland Transit District. Portland Public Schools ended yellow school bus transportation for all of Portland's high school students and entered into an agreement with METRO to provide each student with a free unlimited METRO pass starting in 2015. The program has generated 250,000 boardings for the agency while allowing Portland Public Schools greater flexibility with school bell times and repurposing staff and equipment resources to other priorities. Portland charter school Baxter Academy for Technology and Science also offers METRO passes to students.
The METRO BREEZ Express Bus Service started in June 2016. It serves Portland, Falmouth, Yarmouth, Freeport and Brunswick. Two new lines debuted in August 2018 serving Gorham and adding expanded service to Westbrook. New buses with USB ports and Wi-Fi are being introduced into the new Husky and Route 3 lines, as well as bus shelters.
METRO operates two hubs, one in downtown Portland called the METRO Pulse and one in downtown Westbrook called the Westbrook Hub. Additionally, the Portland Transportation Center, which provides an intercity bus connection and Amtrak service, serves as a major transfer point.
Intercity service from York County connects to the METRO system at the Maine Mall and at several stops along Congress Street. The South Portland Bus Service also connects to METRO at these locations.
Local routes are numbered 1 through 9, with the 9 split into 9A and 9B. There is currently no Route 6. There is one lettered route, the Husky Line, which connects the Gorham and Portland campuses of the University of Southern Maine, which is also identified as "H" on printed maps and signage. There is also one express route, the BREEZ, which runs between Portland and Brunswick; on signage, it is identified as "B".
|Route||Major Stops (Outbound)|
|1 Congress Street||Portland Transportation Center, Monument Square, Eastern Promenade, North Street, Portland Public Library, St. John Street|
|2 Forest Avenue||METRO Pulse, Woodford's Corner, Morrill's Corner, Hannaford Riverton, Pride's Corner|
|3 Westbrook Crosstown||The Maine Mall, Target, Westbrook Hub, Westbrook Community Center, Hannaford Riverton|
|4 Westbrook||METRO Pulse, Rosemont Corner, Westbrook Crossing, Hannaford, Westbrook Hub, Idexx Laboratories, Hamlet|
|5 Maine Mall||METRO Pulse, Westgate, Portland International Jetport (limited service), Congress/Hutchins (limited service), Maine Mall|
|7 Falmouth||METRO Pulse, Washington/Veranda, Walmart, Town Market, OceanView|
|8 Peninsula Loop||Hannaford Plaza, Congress/Forest, Maine Medical Center, Monument Square, Casco Bay Lines, Franklin Towers, Whole Foods, Hannaford Plaza|
|9A North Deering via Stevens Avenue||City Hall, Westgate, Morrill's Corner, Washington/Auburn, Summit/Allen, Allen's Corner, Washington/Veranda, City Hall|
|9B North Deering via Washington Avenue||Monument Square, Washington/Veranda, Allen's Corner, Summit/Allen, West Falmouth Hannaford, Morrill's Corner, Westgate, Monument Square|
|H Husky Line||METRO Pulse, USM Portland, Westbrook Hub, USM Gorham|
|BREEZ Portland North Express||Portland Transportation Center, Monument Square, Yarmouth Town Hall, Downtown Freeport/L.L.Bean, Bowdoin College (on request), Brunswick Maine Street Station|
Fares and accessibility
Transfers can be obtained between any two METRO or South Portland Bus Service routes, for free, no round-trips; stopovers via Bus & Buy only. Riders transferring from local to express routes pay the difference in their fare.
METRO buses are equipped with passenger lifts or ramps and contain space for two riders using wheelchairs. Riders with mobility needs can also use the Regional Transportation Program paratransit service.
- Greater Portland Transit District By-Laws, Revised 23 March 2011
- "Performance Statistics | Greater Portland Transit, ME". gpmetro.org. Retrieved 2018-08-31.
- "Portland high school students to ride METRO buses". Bangor Daily News. 24 August 2015. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
- "Youth & School Partnership Programs | Greater Portland Transit, ME". gpmetro.org. Retrieved 2018-08-31.
- "Background & History | Greater Portland Transit, ME". gpmetro.org. Retrieved 2018-08-31.
- "Greater Portland METRO introduces new buses". Retrieved 2018-08-31.
- "New buses for upcoming new routes in city" - Keep Me Current, May 10, 2018
- "Inter-city / Portland". Shuttle Bus-Zoom. 2016-10-04. Retrieved 2018-08-31.
- "City of South Portland :: Bus Schedule". Retrieved 31 August 2018.
- "Husky Line Map and Schedule". Greater Portland Metro. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
- "METRO BREEZ Express Service FARES | Greater Portland Transit, ME". gpmetro.org. Retrieved 2018-08-31.
- "rtprides.org » About RTP". rtprides.org. Retrieved 2018-08-31.