The Future of Transit

Fall 2022 Outreach

We're Proposing Bus Route Changes, and We Want Your Input

The Transit Together study has developed two scenarios for improving the bus network in the Greater Portland region, and we'd like your feedback on these potential changes. To collect feedback, we conducted a detailed survey that explained how bus routes might change under each scenario. Maps and descriptions of the scenarios are included below.

About the Scenarios


Each of Transit Together's proposed scenarios for improving bus service in the Greater Portland region includes changes to bus routes operated by Biddeford-Saco-Old Orchard Beach Transit, Greater Portland Metro, and South Portland Bus Service, as well as to the Southern Maine Connector and the Lakes Region Explorer routes.


These changes are proposals only and are not yet planned to happen. The results of this survey will help us understand which changes are supported by the public, and which changes aren’t. Transit providers won’t pick one of these scenarios to implement as a whole; they will review responses to this survey and then create a new, recommended network that combines the best improvement options from both scenarios.

The two scenarios are summarized here and shown in the maps below. Questions in the survey will allow you to read more about how each bus route would change under each scenario.

What is Microtransit?

Both scenarios propose microtransit zones. Microtransit is an on-demand transit service where riders can call or use an app to schedule a small transit vehicle (for example, a minivan) to drive them to and from their requested destination, or to a nearby intersection. If multiple people request a trip at the same time, the vehicle may pick people up together for a carpool-type ride, making the trip more efficient but longer.

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TNC Van.png
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Scenario 1:
Simpler, More Consistent Service


This scenario focuses on making bus route frequencies more consistent, and on making routes easier to understand and use. It increases the frequencies of many bus routes to every 60 or 30 minutes, reduces the number of alternate route patterns, and reduces the number of deviations that increase travel times for many rides.


Major improvements in Scenario 1 include:

  • More routes operate on main roads where land uses are denser. This also allows bus routes to operate along more of a straight and direct path, which reduces travel time for riders.

  • Many bus routes operate on Congress Street in Portland, creating a high-frequency bus corridor where buses may arrive as often as every 10 minutes, meaning riders won’t need a bus schedule for travel along Congress Street, and allowing transfers to occur at many stops.

  • Microtransit zones in Falmouth and South Portland.

  • An hourly bus connecting Portland, South Portland, Scarborough, Old Orchard Beach, and Saco.

  • An hourly bus route connecting Sanford, Biddeford, and Saco.

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Scenario 2:
Focus on Rider Demand


This scenario focuses on providing more transit service where there is more demand for it. The scenario makes many of the simplification, frequency, and speed and directness improvements that Scenario 1 does, but also proposes the region’s first bus route to arrive every 15 minutes for extended periods of the day (Route 4 in Westbrook and Portland).


Major improvements in Scenario 2 include:

  • Westbrook-Downtown Portland - A bus that arrives every 15 minutes during the peak periods, connecting Westbrook and downtown Portland via Brighton Avenue.

  • Maine Mall-Redbank Village-Downtown Portland - Faster, more direct connections between the Maine Mall and Redbank Village areas and downtown Portland.

  • More bus routes that serve Portland’s Eastern Waterfront.

  • More routes operate on main roads where land uses are denser. This also allows bus routes to operate along more of a straight and direct path, which reduces travel time for riders.

  • Microtransit zones in Falmouth, South Portland, and Biddeford/Saco/Old Orchard Beach.

  • An hourly bus route connecting Sanford, Biddeford, and Saco.

There are trade-offs with these types of improvements, the most considerable of which is that some places will no longer have transit service, and some people will need to travel further to get to a bus stop.

The comparison slider maps below illustrate the differences, by region, for the two scenarios. In the default view, Scenario 1 is on the left, with Scenario 2 on the right. Hover over the maps and move the slider in the middle to either side to view each scenario in its entirety.

Scenarios 1 & 2 Comparison: Portland Area
Scenarios 1 & 2 Comparison: Biddeford - Saco - Old Orchard Beach Area

To provide your feedback on these scenarios, please take the survey:

Transit Together is a study being conducted by the Greater Portland Council of Governments in coordination with the region’s transit providers.