Greater Portland Transit METRO Reached Record RIdership in 2018
In 2018, METRO Tops Previous Ridership Record by 5%
(Portland, Maine) – Greater Portland Transit District METRO -- formed in 1966 -- reached record ridership of 1.95 million in 2018, breaking the 1.8 million mark reached in 2017. Last year’s ridership of 1,947,038 is a 5% increase from the 1,850,686 record of 2017. METRO has seen a steady increase in ridership since 2013.
For the last five years, METRO has delivered several system enhancements and programs to transit service and infrastructure in the region.
These have included improvements to frequencies, reliability and route structure; increased holiday and Sunday service; new bus shelters; real-time bus arrival information; express METRO BREEZ bus service between Portland, Yarmouth, Freeport, and Brunswick; FREE METRO rides on Election Day and First Friday Art Walk events, through a partnership with Creative Portland, and the introduction of student pass programs.
In 2018, METRO implemented its Transit West Expansion, which included:
- NEW Route 3 crosstown service between Portland/Riverton, Westbrook, and South Portland (with continued service into Portland);
- the introduction of a Husky Line route between Portland, Westbrook, and Gorham, providing a transit link for Gorham residents and business owners; and
- a U-Pass program (between METRO and USM), which provides free transit access between USM campuses and throughout the transit system for students, staff, and faculty.
Last year, METRO also added eleven new buses to its fleet; installed new bus stop signs across its transit system, highlighting new, modern branding; and introduced a new website – gpmetro.org – featuring text alerts with subscriber options for system updates.
METRO’s General Manager, Greg Jordan said, “Metro’s ridership results demonstrate that high quality public transit works in southern Maine, but we have a lot more work to do. We need to continue modernizing the system, improving bus stops, and providing 21st century fare payment options while also improving affordability and increasing bus arrival frequency so we can get people to their destinations faster.”
At its December 2018 meeting, the METRO Board elected Belinda Ray, of Portland, as METRO Board President (2019-2020) and welcomed back Jeff Levine, of Portland.
- The communities of Yarmouth, Freeport, and Brunswick will vote, during the first quarter of 2019, on continued METRO BREEZ express service.
- METRO plans to implement a new fare collection system by the fall of 2019. METRO staff will hold public meetings in March, in each community along service routes, to review proposed fare changes.
- 13 new replacement buses will be delivered between 2019-2020, joining the eleven buses introduced in 2018.
- In 2020, METRO plans to improve service on the Portland Peninsula, providing more frequency, more options, and better connections for current and future transit riders.
For METRO information and updates:
- Open Monday-Friday, 7am-7pm; 9am – 4:30pm on Saturday.
With annual ridership of nearly 2 million, METRO is the largest public transit agency in Maine. Greater Portland METRO provides bus service between Brunswick, Falmouth, Freeport, Gorham, Portland, South Portland, Westbrook, and Yarmouth.