PORTLAND — College students are being offered free rides on buses in and around Maine’s largest city as a way to get them to try public transportation.

Portland’s METRO bus service and the South Portland Bus Service are offering free rides from Aug. 23 to Sept. 30 to students with IDs from the University of Southern Maine, the University of New England, Southern Maine Community College, Maine College of Art, Kaplan University and the SALT Institute for Documentary Studies.

Bus service officials say the offer is their way of welcoming students back to college while giving them the opportunity to try the bus services for free.

After September, some of the schools will continue to offer free or discounted bus rides for their students.

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