Transit Together - Route and Schedule Changes
In January 2023, the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System (PACTS) Policy Board approved the Transit Together Plan, which proposes improvements to the regional transit network to make it more seamless across the region.
Metro staff hosted public meetings in Portland and Westbrook and via Zoom to present information and gather input from riders and stakeholders on route and schedule changes that are planned for Fall 2023 and beyond. After assessing all feedback, and assessing available funding, Metro is advancing the following plan and timeline for service improvements. This plan is subject to approval by the Metro Board of Directors on June 22, 2023.
August 27, 2023
Extension of the Husky Line to Ocean Gateway Terminal
Metro will extend the Husky Line from its current endpoint at Metro Pulse on Elm Street to Ocean Gateway Terminal via Congress Street, Franklin Street, and Commercial Street. This will provide a fast, one-seat connection between Gorham, Westbrook, Rosemont, and Oakdale to Portland's Old Port neighborhood, connecting thousands of additional jobs and countless recreational and tourism destinations to the route, which runs with limited stops between Portland and Gorham via Brighton Avenue, William Clarke Drive, and Main Street in Gorham. New stops will be located at Ocean Gateway Terminal and on Franklin Street at Fore Street.
Additional off-peak frequency on Route 9
Route 9, which runs between downtown Portland and North Deering via Washington Avenue, Auburn Street, and Stevens Avenue, currently has periods in the late morning and early afternoon where frequency drops from every 30 minutes to every 60 minutes on weekdays, with consistent 60 minute headways on Saturdays. In August, service frequency will be improved to provide consistent, 30-minute headways from about 6am-6pm on weekdays and from about 8am-6pm on Saturdays. Additionally, Route 9B will run about one hour later into the evening, aligning with Route 9A's service span.
Additional BREEZ trips
The Metro BREEZ express service currently runs about 13 round trips per weekday, with inconsistent headways, particularly in the late morning. Metro will be adding two additional round trips to weekday BREEZ service beginning in August, with more consistent headways throughout the day.
Route 1 changes on Munjoy Hill
In order to improve travel times and wintertime operations, Metro will revise our route through Munjoy Hill to turn directly from Eastern Promenade to Congress Street, eliminating service along Fore Street to Atlantic Avenue. While this adds walking time for some passengers, a new stop will be placed at Congress Street/Emerson Street, which was a popular temporary stop when it was in place during construction in 2022.
Extension of Route 7 to Jetport with improved frequency and hours
In order to serve Portland Jetport more consistently while enhancing our High-Frequency Corridor along Congress Street in Portland, Metro plans to extend Route 7 to Portland Jetport via Hutchins Drive beginning in May 2024, with improved frequency and hours of operation. This will not only improve service to and from Falmouth, but provide much more consistent service between Portland and the Jetport, making Metro a more realistic option for Jetport travelers as well as people visiting the Jetport Boulevard office of the Department of Health and Human Services. At the same time, we'll discontinue Route 5 service to the Jetport and Hutchins Drive to improve travel time for passengers traveling between Portland and the Maine Mall.
Also targeted for May 2024, Metro plans to discontinue the "loops" in Falmouth and replace coverage in these areas (and beyond!) with our first-ever microtransit zone. Users in the microtransit zone would be able to request a ride via a smartphone app or a phone call to Metro, and be picked up and dropped off anywhere within the zone, including Shaw's or Walmart. More information on this system is forthcoming.
The following improvements were identified as goals in Transit Together, but will require more time and funding to implement. Metro hopes to implement these changes a short time after the May 2024 improvements are implemented.
Routes 2 and 4 Extensions
Similar to the Husky Line, we expect to extend Routes 2 and 4 to Ocean Gateway to further improve connectivity between Westbrook and the off-peninsula neighborhoods of Portland to Portland's Old Port.
Route 8 Alignment Improvements and Bidirectionality
Metro expects to implement route improvements and bidirectionality to Route 8 once additional funding is identified. This will vastly improve service around Portland's peninsula, and shorten round-trip travel times considerably.
What isn't happening?
Metro presented numerous proposed changes to our network in May. Based on public feedback, Metro has no plans to implement the following changes:
- Elimination of Route 2 service to Pride's Corner -- We will continue to serve Pride's Corner for the foreseeable future. Some reduction in service is possible when Route 2 is extended to Ocean Gateway, but we expect this to be limited to Sundays. More information will follow
- Running Route 5 on Congress St instead of Park Avenue -- Based on feedback from the public, and because Park Avenue has more favorable travel times than Congress Street, we'll continue running Route 5 on Park Avenue for the foreseeable future.
- Route 1 to Jetport, Route 7 to Thompson's Point -- Based on public feedback and operational realities, we will leave the Route 1's alignment unchanged aside from a small change on Munjoy Hill (discussed above). Route 7 will instead serve the Jetport.
Meetings to learn about the proposals and offer feedback on changes recommended in Transit Together were held:
In person - Tuesday, May 9 at the Westbrook Community Center, at 3:30 PM.
In person - Wednesday, May 17 at the Portland Public Library, 5 Monument Square, at 3:30 PM.
Via Zoom - Thursday, May 18 at 6pm
Recorded presentation to the GPCOG Transportation Community Leaders can be found here.
Transit Together - Press Release (5.3.23) - HERE