METRO buses to make 4 stops in Yarmouth

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YARMOUTH — The Town Council finalized an agreement with the Greater Portland Transit District for METRO bus service to Portland.

Councilors on Sept. 17 also voted to keep the Bridge Street dam instead of having it removed.

The vote to proceed with the bus service was unanimous, with an amendment stipulating there will be no advertising on bus shelters. There will be four stops in town.

METRO first proposed the bus route, which will also stop in Falmouth and Freeport, in June 2014Over the past year, the service has worked with the towns to modify bus schedules, fees, and stops.

Although METRO originally intended to start running the buses this summer under a three-year pilot program, the start has been pushed back to late spring or early summer 2016.

METRO’s general rule regarding bus shelter ads is if a town or city doesn’t want the advertising, it must pay the agency $1,000 to cover revenue the ads would have generated. The money is used to clean and maintain the shelters.

Town Manager Nat Tupper said the town is still working on contract language with METRO, because not every shelter would have had advertising. The stops will be at the Interstate 295 commuter parking lots at Exits 15 and 17, at Town Hall on Main Street, and at the Hannaford complex on Route 1.

Tupper said the shelters at the commuter parking lots wouldn’t have had advertising because not enough people use the lots for advertisers to find it worthwhile.

The Freeport Town Council on Sept. 15 decided to wait until October to finalize its agreement with METRO because of similar concerns. Councilors said they’re not sure they want bus shelters, and if they do, they’re not sure they want advertising.

Bridge Street dam

Tupper on Sept. 3 recommended keep the Bridge Street dam. Councilors accepted his recommendation 6-1, with Councilor David Craig opposed.

The decision was made despite discussions earlier this year about removing the dam, which coincided with the dredging of the Royal River. The dredging was completed in February.

Councilors said they wanted to put the issue to rest after years of hearing opinions on both sides.

“I think it’s time for closure on this issue,” Councilor Andy Kittredge said.

Chairman Randy Bates agreed.

“I think it’s time to move on,” he said.

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.