YARMOUTH — The pilot METRO express bus service from Portland to Freeport will start June 16.
The Greater Portland Transit District held a meeting Tuesday night at Merrill Memorial Library to discuss the three-year program. It was the first in a series of meetings to discuss the express service and other METRO services.
Meetings will also be held at Falmouth Memorial Library, May 4, 5-6:30 p.m.; Portland Public Library, May 5, 5-6:30 p.m. and May 7, 10:30 a.m.-noon, and Freeport Community Library, May 9, 5-6:30 p.m.
Fewer than a dozen people attended Tuesday’s meeting. Anyone who can’t attend the meetings can take a survey at gpmetrobus.com.
The express service will run from Portland to Freeport with stops in Falmouth and Yarmouth. There will be nine trips each weekday and five on Saturdays. The service will only stop in Falmouth three times each day, during midday hours.
(METRO’s existing Route 7 bus, the Falmouth Flyer, will continue to operate on its regular schedule.)
The Town Council approved its portion of the agreement last September. There will be four stops in Yarmouth: at the Interstate 295 commuter parking lots at Exit 15 and Exit 17, Town Hall on Main Street, and the Hannaford complex on Route 1.
A round-trip ticket between Portland and Freeport will cost $6. There will also be 10-ride passes and monthly passes, which METRO General Manager Greg Jordan said will be available for purchase at town halls and at METRO’s Portland office.
METRO is working on creating a real-time bus tracker through Southern Maine Transit Tracker for all its services. He said riders will be able to track buses online, via text message, and on an app.
Jordan said METRO purchased three buses for the express service, two of which will be in use while the other is a backup. The buses are wheelchair accessible, can hold 19 passengers, and will have Wi-Fi.
The working name of the service for now is Portland North Bus Service; Jordan said an official name will be revealed soon.
METRO is in the process of installing 29 new bus shelters in Portland, Westbrook, and Falmouth. No shelters are currently planned in Yarmouth and Freeport, but Jordan said discussions will be held over the next year. Both towns have said they will not allow advertising on shelters.
A celebratory event will be held on the first day of the express service, but Jordan said details are not yet available.