Greater Portland Metro Bus

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Greater Portland METRO
Greater Portland Metro logo as of 2018.jpg
MaineMetro.JPG
A METRO bus in August 2010
Founded1966 (57 years ago) (1966)
Headquarters114 Valley Street, Portland, Maine
LocaleGreater Portland, Maine
Service areaPortland, Brunswick, Gorham, Falmouth, Freeport, South Portland, Westbrook and Yarmouth
Service typeBus service, express bus service
Routes11
Hubs
  • METRO Pulse at Elm St. and Congress St. on the Portland Peninsula
  • Westbrook Hub at Mechanic St. in downtown Westbrook
Fleet31
OperatorGreater Portland Transit District
Chief executiveGreg Jordan (as of September 2013)
WebsiteGreater 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, Falmouth, Yarmouth, Freeport, and Brunswick,[1] the system also covers Gorham and the Maine Mall portion of South Portland. 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.[2]

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.

History[edit]

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.[3] 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.[4]

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.[5] New buses with USB ports and Wi-Fi are being introduced into the new Husky and Route 3 lines,[6] as well as bus shelters.[7]

Routes[edit]

Route 8 bus in pre-2017 livery

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.[8] The South Portland Bus Service also connects to METRO at these locations.[9]

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.[10] 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, Brunswick Maine Street Station

Fares and accessibility[edit]

Fares[edit]

METRO, along with the South Portland Bus Service and Biddeford-Saco-Old Orchard Beach Transit, participates in a regional automated fare collection system known as DiriGo Pass. This system uses the UMO Pass platform developed by Cubic. Monthly, daily, and ten-ride paper passes have been phased out, and are no longer accepted. Instead, passengers load money onto their account and pay fares using a smartcard or the UMO mobile app. Standard fares are $2 for all local service, and $4 for the BREEZ service. Passengers may transfer for free within 90 minutes if using the mobile app or smartcard. If transferring to the BREEZ, passengers pay the difference in fare. A fare capping system has been implemented, so that after $6 in local fares or $12 in BREEZ express fares are paid in a calendar day, no more fares will be charged to the account. Fares are also capped at $60 in a calendar month for local fares, and $120 for BREEZ fares. Reduced fare is half of the normal fare, and the monthly and daily caps are half of the standard caps. Reduced fares are applicable for persons with disabilities, anyone over 65, veterans, youth ages 6–18, and Medicare card holders. Cash continues to be accepted, however no free transfers are available.[11]

Accessibility[edit]

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.[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2022-01-21. Retrieved 2022-01-21.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Performance Statistics | Greater Portland Transit, ME". gpmetro.org. Retrieved 2018-08-31.
  3. ^ "Portland high school students to ride METRO buses". Bangor Daily News. 24 August 2015. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  4. ^ "Youth & School Partnership Programs | Greater Portland Transit, ME". gpmetro.org. Retrieved 2018-08-31.
  5. ^ "Background & History | Greater Portland Transit, ME". gpmetro.org. Retrieved 2018-08-31.
  6. ^ "Greater Portland METRO introduces new buses". Retrieved 2018-08-31.
  7. ^ "New buses for upcoming new routes in city" - Keep Me Current, May 10, 2018
  8. ^ "Inter-city / Portland". Shuttle Bus-Zoom. 2016-10-04. Retrieved 2018-08-31.
  9. ^ "City of South Portland :: Bus Schedule". Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  10. ^ "Husky Line Map and Schedule". Greater Portland Metro. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  11. ^ "Fares | Dirigo Pass". dirigopass.org. Retrieved 2022-01-21.
  12. ^ "rtprides.org » About RTP". rtprides.org. Retrieved 2018-08-31.

External links[edit]