2024 Service Changes

Metro has big plans for 2024

We're excited about what's to come for Metro service in 2024! With even more service along Congress Street, more frequent and consistent service to the Portland International Jetport, and a brand new service model in Falmouth, we hope to encourage more people in Greater Portland to leave the driving to us.

High-Frequency Corridor

Metro's peak service frequency is generally every 30 minutes on some routes. While our long-term goal is to improve frequency on most routes, in the meantime, we can stagger routes running along the same corridor to achieve frequencies of every 15 minutes or less. Additionally, we will be extending Route 7 along Congress Street, increasing service to the West End and beyond (see below!).

Passengers traveling along Congress Street between Washington Avenue and St. John Street will be able to board any Route 1, Route 7, or Route 9 bus, with a combined average frequency of about 10 minutes. 

Benefits

  • Increased convenience for Metro passengers with destinations along the corridor

Potential drawbacks

  • Depending on the time of day and direction, it may not be possible to perfectly stagger trips to achieve 10 minute headways.

Service to the Jetport and to Hutchins Drive

Since the 1Route 5-7 Thumbnail980's, Portland International Jetport has been served by Metro's Route 5, which today connects downtown Portland to the Maine Mall. Today, Jetport service as well as service to the Hutchins Drive area, is achieved by deviating Route 5 buses off of their primary corridor in order to serve the Jetport terminal. This is not ideal for two major reasons. For one, this adds travel time for thru passengers traveling between the Maine Mall and downtown Portland, the two primary destinations along the Route 5. Secondly, because Jetport and Hutchins Drive service require mid-route deviations, it sometimes makes sense to skip traveling to these areas entirely, in order to keep headways consistent. This results in irregular, and infrequent, service to both destinations.

In early Summer 2024, Metro plans to extend the Route 7, which currently runs between Falmouth Foreside and downtown Portland, south and west to the Jetport, serving Hutchins Drive as well. Additionally, we plan on doubling weekday frequency on the Route 7 for most of the day. This will result in consistent, twice-hourly service to the Jetport, and providing a new one-seat ride to the Jetport from the neighborhoods surrounding Washington Ave on Portland's peninsula, Veranda Street in East Deering, and Route 1 in Falmouth. Alongside this change, we will remove Route 5 service from the Jetport and from Hutchins Drive. This will make trips for those traveling between the Mall and downtown Portland significantly faster and more reliable.

Benefits

  • Significant improvement in Jetport service, from every 30-90 minutes to consistently every 30 minutes. 
  • Improved calendar legibility -- all trips serve the Jetport, and all trips leaving the Jetport go to Falmouth via downtown Portland.
  • Faster Route 5 service between Maine Mall and downtown Portland.
  • Better service between Portland and Falmouth, including doubling weekday frequency, expanding hours of operation 7 days per week, and additional destinations beyond downtown Portland
  • Additional service along Congress Street (the High Frequency Corridor; see above) and "outer Congress Street", including to Westgate Plaza

Potential drawbacks:

  • No direct trips between Maine Mall and the Jetport, Congress/Hutchins, and DHHS. Route 5 will continue to stop at Johnson Road/Jetport Boulevard, approximately 0.4 miles from the DHHS office.
  • Route 7 will no longer stop at our Pulse office at 21 Elm Street. Route 7 will instead serve our existing Monument Square (Congress/Center) and Portland Public Library (Congress/Elm) stops.

Microtransit Pilot in Falmouth

Fixed-route transit works best when there is dense placement of origins and destinations placed along the route. While Shaw's and Walmart in Falmouth are certainly well-served by fixed-route transit, the Falmouth Foreside area is likely better served by a more nimble option. Enter "microtransit", an on-demand transit option that can connect people to neighbors, to shopping, and to other transit options without the need to wait for a bus on a set schedule. Microtransit will allow for people to travel within our set coverage area, and provide a connection to a more streamlined Route 7 service while also providing the flexibility to travel anywhere within the zone while waiting less time for a vehicle. Microtransit is expected to replace the Route 7 "loops" serving Town Landing Market and Oceanview in Fall 2024.

The details on the microtransit pilot are still being determined with a consultant and the eventual software vendor. Check back here in 2024 for more details!