PORTLAND, Maine — Suspended bus fares were one immediate change the coronavirus had on Maine back in March. That was the case for the Community Connector in Bangor and transit agencies, like Greater Portland Metro, in southern Maine.
In Bangor, fares were required again starting in July.
The bus services in southern Maine will begin requiring payments on October 1, with a new system using smart cards and a mobile app.
It's called the DiriGo TouchPass.
Greater Portland METRO, Biddeford Saco Old Orchard Beach Transit, and South Portland Bus Service will use it.
The DiriGo TouchPass, and a fare increase, were initially planned to roll out in April but it was delayed due to the pandemic.
"The old tickets, the paper-based tickets, and passes are going away," Greater Portland METRO General Manager Greg Jordan said. "So you will link an account to your smart card or your smartphone and you will pay for your rides as you go. And one of the great things about the system is it's going to reward you the more you use the service. So you're never going to pay more than a certain amount per day and a certain amount per month."
Meanwhile, Laurie Linscott, the bus superintendent of the Community Connector in Bangor, tells NEWS CENTER Maine they don't have plans at this time to incorporate this touch pass technology. However, they will keep a close watch on how it works in other areas of the state.