BRUNSWICK, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- People in the Brunswick area are about to have a new way to get to Portland, and local leaders are hoping it will also be a boost for Brunswick businesses.
Starting in two weeks, the Metro Breez commuter bus service will be operating 14 round trips per weekday (five on Saturdays) between Brunswick and Portland. It’s an extension of the service that already runs from Portland to Freeport.
The new service will connect downtown Brunswick and Bowdoin College to Freeport and Yarmouth, as well as Portland. And while Brunswick leaders say it will help their residents travel to the city for work or play, they hope it can also be a way to attract new workers for local businesses.
"We have a shortage of employees, and I know employers are looking for options beyond Brunswick to provide employees they need," said Debora King of the Brunswick Downtown Association.
The Metro Breez began in 2016, through an agreement between the Portland Metro system, Freeport, Yarmouth and the Maine DOT. They began a three-year "pilot program," which Brunswick will join for the remaining two years.
Brunswick and Bowdoin College will provide partial subsidies, as the other towns already do. According to Metro officials, those subsidies will total about $118,000. The Maine DOT will provide about $373,000, using federal funds. The balance, projected at about $86,000,will come from passenger fares.
The service is designed to be affordable. A one-way ticket will be $3. Brunswick Town Planner Anna Breinich said that fare will make transportation available to everyone.
"It gives people who don’t have transportation options available to them, low-cost transportation options, the ability to get to or from anywhere between Brunswick now and Portland and beyond," she said.
The new service will begin August 24th.