PORTLAND — Metro bus riders on the Congress Street route will have to tweak their schedules for 2009.
Starting Jan. 12, an additional stop at the new Mercy at the Fore hospital, on Fore River Parkway, will be added at the end of Route 1, which now services Congress Street between St. John Street and Munjoy Hill.
The additional stop, which will be used Monday through Friday, will change most of the pick-up and drop-off times along the route. There will be no evening, holiday or weekend service at that location, and the last evening weekday stop is currently scheduled at 5:53 p.m.
As of Jan. 11, Metro Route 6, which services North Deering along Washington Avenue, will no longer provide twice-daily service to Maine Avenue and Virginia Street.
Metro Marketing Director Denise Beck said updated schedules will be widely available starting Jan. 1, but the bus service is doing what it can to make sure riders learn about the upcoming changes.
“We want to make sure everyone is aware of the change so we’re getting the information out there now,” Beck said.
The new Fore River Parkway stop, which is expected to add another 1.3 miles per trip, was added at the request of Mercy Hospital.
Unfortunately, riders will have to wait until the updated schedules are available to know exactly how to adjust their schedules. Beck said that each stop will be affected differently and there is no rule-of-thumb that can be applied to stops across the board.
“It’s not exact,” she said. “We can’t say that each stop will change by three minutes or five minutes – it’s not as simple as that.”
Updated schedules will be available on Jan. 1 at the Elm Street station, on Metro buses and online at GPMetroBus.com.
With an annual bus ridership averaging 1.4 million, Metro is the state’s largest public transportation provider, serving Portland, Westbrook, Falmouth and the Maine Mall in South Portland. For more information about the upcoming changes, call Metro at 774-0351.

Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or rbillings@theforecaster.net.

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