Municipal officials in Cumberland, Yarmouth and Freeport will convene Thursday to discuss launching a new commuter bus service next summer between Portland and their communities.

Transit officials will be seeking permission to go before their individual councils and ask for support for the plan, said Gregory Jordan, the district’s general manager.

“We need their green light,” Jordan said.

If just one town refuses to endorse the plan, the project likely would be scuttled because the costs would increase for the other towns, he said.

When they meet in Freeport Town Hall at 6:30 p.m., town managers and some council members from each of the three towns will review a final report on the proposal from the Greater Portland Transit District.

The proposed service is similar to the Zoom-Shuttle Bus inter-city bus service that currently connects Biddeford/Saco, Old Orchard Beach, Scarborough and Portland, according to the report.

The bus would be smaller and travel faster than the Metro buses that operate in Portland. The buses would operate on Route 1 and I-295, with limited stops in Freeport, Yarmouth, Cumberland and possibly Falmouth.

The buses would operate weekdays only and run every 30 minutes and between 6 and 9 a.m. and between 3 and 6:30 p.m.

The one-way fare would be $4 between Freeport and Portland and $3 between Yarmouth or Cumberland and Portland. If a stop is added in Falmouth, that fare would be $2.

Freeport residents with a monthly pass would pay $960 a year to travel on the bus. By car, the same commuter would be spending $5,228 a year, not including the cost of parking in Portland, the report said.

It would cost $825,000 to purchase a fleet of four buses required for the service. It would cost $300,000 a year to operate the service, with fares providing $62,000 in revenue.

Federal funds would pay for the first year of the operation. The federal money would gradually decline, and support from the towns would increase. By the fourth year of the service, when the federal money is paying for just 25 percent of the operating costs, the towns would pay a combined $233,000, according to the report.

Because it would be three-year pilot program, the three towns would not need to join the Metro transit district, whose members now are Portland, Westbrook and Falmouth. But if the program becomes ongoing, the three towns would need to consider joining Metro, the report said.

The report estimates that there would be about 120 one-way trips each day.

In Yarmouth, one of the stops would be the $1 million park-and-ride lot, which has 300 spaces. The lot has been mostly empty since it was opened last fall by the Maine Department of Transportation.

The bus stops will be located in park-and-ride lots and in high-density commercial and residential areas, according to the report. The location of the bus stops has not been determined, Jordan said.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.