Proposed Route Changes on Portland's Peninsula

Transit Together proposes route extensions and optimizations that would improve access to Portland's waterfront and create a "High Frequency Corridor" on Congress Street.

Proposed Route Changes

Extension of three routes to the Eastern Waterfront

Transit Together recommends that Route 2, Route 4, and the Husky Line, which currently terminate at PULSE on Elm Street, extend to Portland's Eastern Waterfront. METRO is working with the City to identify a mini-hub at or near the Ocean Gateway Center, which is an ideal terminus point. 

Extension of Route 7 to Thompson's Point

Transit Together recommends extending Route 7 service from Elm Street to Thompson's Point via Congress Street, St. John Street, and Fore River Parkway, mimicking Route 1's current alignment. This would replace direct service to Mercy Hospital and Thompson's Point that would be removed from Route 1 service.

Swap Route 5 and Route 8 service on Park Avenue/Congress Street

In order to improve the coverage area of the Route 8 loops and improve transit frequency on the Commercial Street corridor, Transit Together recommends running the Route 8 on Park Avenue, and the Route 5 on Congress Street. This allows METRO to retain transit service along Park Avenue, including destinations such as Deering Oaks Park, the Iris Network, Hadlock Field, and the Portland Expo, but also reduces the redundancy that exists by running service along Congress Street in the West End in addition to West Street, a short walking distance. Route 5, running along Congress Street, would contribute to a High-Frequency Corridor, combining with several other routes to provide bus headways on Portland's major east-west street of 10 minutes or less.

Benefits of Recommended Route Changes

Improved access to Portland's expanding waterfront

Despite being a major employment and recreation destination, METRO service is currently limited to Route 8 serving Portland's Eastern Waterfront.  This limits the transit connectivity between the waterfront and the Greater Portland region. Extending these routes to the Waterfront would provide direct connections between the waterfront and Riverton, Morrill's Corner, Woodford's Corner, Rock Row, downtown Westbrook, and USM's campuses. This improves the utility of METRO's existing routes by providing additional connections, and allows an alternative to driving and parking in the Old Port, which can be very expensive. 

Congress Street High Frequency Corridor

METRO continues to strive for better headways on all its bus routes, which will require a long-term expansion of the system. In the meantime, we can stagger routes running along a common corridor so that passengers who are merely moving along the peninsula can get on any one of several bus routes to reach their destination, with wait times of 10 minutes or less. Extending the Route 7 to Thompson's Point and switching Route 5 to Congress Street enables this feature between Elm Street and St. John Street. Route 8, which currently deviates on and off of Congress Street, would not provide this direct service on the High-Frequency Corridor, so it is recommended to be shifted to Park Avenue to replace Route 5 service. 

Improved connectivity between Portland and Falmouth

Extending the Route 7 to Thompson's Point adds several major destinations to the Route 7, a historically low-ridership route. The Route 7 passengers would gain access to Congress Square, Longfellow Square, the Maine Medical Center area, Portland Transportation Center, and Thompson's Point on a single-seat trip. 

Possible Drawbacks of Recommended Route Changes

Changes to specific trips

Any change to a transit route will undoubtedly inconvenience some people, even if the change is an overall improvement. Some existing Route 5 and Route 8 trips that require no transfers or only a short walk to a destination may change. 

Existing and Recommended Service Maps

Note: Route 9 and BREEZ are not shown on the maps below for clarity. But don't worry, they aren't going anywhere!

Existing METRO service on Portland's Peninsula

Map of existing METRO service on Portland's Peninsula

Recommended METRO service on Portland's Peninsula

Map of METRO service on Portland's peninsula as recommended by Transit Together