Starting Monday, August 27, USM has a new ride - the METRO Husky Line will serve as bus transportation connecting the University of Southern Maine’s Portland and Gorham campuses.
Greater Portland Transit District (METRO) is introducing their new Transit West service with a new distinctly USM Husky-branded bus line (which will be unveiled at the launch event on August 27). The Husky Line will increase daytime service between the Portland and Gorham campuses (arriving every 30 minutes) plus it will have an earlier start time, will end later in the evening, and will also provide year-round service including weekends.
On August 27th at 11 a.m., a Husky Line launch event will take place at the Sullivan Gym parking lot, with refreshments, remarks and giveaways, plus a free ride on the new Husky Line to Westbrook and on to Gorham!
“As a community-engaged university, USM is delighted that the Husky Line will not only be a benefit for our students, but also for people living in Gorham, Westbrook and other surrounding towns. This is a game changer for our university and for the entire region,” said President Glenn Cummings.
All about that bus!
Students, faculty, staff and community members can board the METRO Husky Line on campus in Portland or Gorham, and also from additional stops in the cities of Portland, Westbrook and Gorham.
USM students*, staff and faculty just need to show their USM Campus ID Cards to ride the bus. And as an additional benefit, they will also be able to access all Greater Portland METRO lines for free. That includes connections with other routes, such as to the Portland Jetport and the Maine Mall in South Portland, and even up to Brunswick.
The Husky Line regular schedule will commence on August 27, after the launch event -- with Portland campus pickups and dropoffs occurring temporarily at Falmouth Street outside of the Science Building (while Bedford Street remains under construction). Gorham pickups and dropoffs will continue to be in front of Bailey Hall. Starting September 4th, Portland pickups and dropoffs will be at the new Bedford Street bus shelters.
The Husky Line schedule and the most current/accurate information about it is located on the Greater Portland METRO website. People can also track the schedule, timing and so on via the Transit App, and also can sign up for text alerts.
In addition, USM information on the Husky Line can be found on USM’s Public Safety website.
The Husky Line offers some great perks/improvements:
- Free Wi-Fi
- USB charging ports
- 3 bike racks. How to load your bike onto a METRO bike rack.
- 2-3 wheelchair-accessible ramps. Read more about accessible services.
- Brand new, natural gas buses
- Frequent pick-ups
- Year-round service, 7 days per week, excluding major holidays
- Win prizes by logging miles at GoMaine, a state-wide commuter website that rewards people for using “green” transportation.
In addition to the convenience and added perks of the new Husky Line and expanded METRO service for the USM community, the METRO partnership aligns with USM's Strategic Sustainability Plan, which calls for the University to be carbon neutral by the year 2040. To achieve this goal, the University aims to lower its transportation footprint by 20% by 2025. Giving students, staff, and faculty access to ride anywhere on the METRO network will help curb commuting miles and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“The METRO partnership is exciting because it addresses social sustainability in addition to environmental sustainability,” said Assistant Director for Sustainable Programs Aaron Witham.
"Not only will we be reducing carbon emissions, but at the same time we’ll be increasing the level of mobility and convenience for USM and external community members who don’t have direct access to their own transportation. They can jump on the bus and get most places in the area without needing to own a private vehicle with all of the associated costs, environmental impact, and the hassle of finding parking in our increasingly limited campus and community parking spaces,” he said.
METRO is Maine’s largest public transit agency and provides more than 1.8 million boarding per year throughout the communities of Brunswick, Falmouth, Freeport, Portland, South Portland, Westbrook and Yarmouth.
*Please note that students of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) may ride the bus for the regular fare, but do not qualify to ride METRO for free with a USM Campus ID Card.
by Danielle Vayenas | Office of Public Affairs