Those who travel back and forth from Portland to New York City for business or pleasure will soon have a new transportation option.

Concord Coach Lines announced Thursday that on Nov. 2 it will begin offering the only direct bus service between Portland and New York City.

The new year-round service will run seven days a week. It will begin by offering one round trip a day, but that will likely increase to at least two round trips a day by next summer, said Harry Blunt, Concord’s president.

The service will be direct, meaning no other stops and no transfers in Boston. The trip will take roughly six hours.

“The bus will stop in Connecticut for a quick rest break, but that’s all,” Blunt said.

The number of requests the bus company received for service to New York City convinced Blunt that it would be a viable route.


“Given the interest from a lot of folks in Maine and New York, we think there’s a potential for a good market there, especially in the summer,” he said.

The service will use “executive-class” buses, which are fancier than the typical buses used on Concord’s routes between Portland and Boston. The New York route’s buses will hold fewer passengers (30 instead of 51) and have leather seats, WiFi, power outlets at each seat, and a self-service galley in the rear of the bus that will offer passengers coffee and fresh fruit. The bus has a more spacious design, with two seats on one side of the aisle and only one seat on the other.

“They’re literally like first-class airplane seats so you’re not squished up next to someone,” Blunt said.

The bus will depart the Portland Transportation Center on Thompson’s Point at 6:30 a.m. with a scheduled arrival at a bus stop in midtown Manhattan – specifically on East 42nd St. between 1st and 2nd avenues – at 12:15 p.m. The return trip will leave from 42nd Street at 2 p.m. and arrive in Portland at 8 p.m.

For a limited time, tickets will cost $49 one way and $98 round trip.

“We want to build awareness and have people use it, try it, talk to their neighbors about it,” Blunt said. “We’re thinking that we will keep the introductory offer at least through January.”


While the service will be attractive to a wide spectrum of people, Blunt believes “the biggest draw will be leisure travelers in both directions.”

Because a lot of New Yorkers don’t own cars, the new service will certainly help more of them reach Portland, said Lynn Tillotson, president of the Portland Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“I think it’s amazing news,” she said. “New York is one of our largest states that people come from, especially from the New York City area, so I think this will offer just one more option for them to get here easily.”

The other big target demographic for the service, Blunt said, will be business travelers.

“We’re finding throughout our system that people are living long distances from their parent companies,” Blunt said. “A guy can be a Wall Street broker and spend half his life in Portland, Maine, who goes down Tuesday and comes back Thursday.”

Other than flying, there’s no other transportation option that can take someone directly from Portland to New York City, or vice versa. Amtrak’s Downeaster requires passengers to transfer to another train in Boston. Greyhound offers bus service between Portland and New York, but it includes multiple stops along the way and requires passengers to transfer to another bus in Boston for the last leg of the trip, according to the schedule posted on its website.


C&J Bus Lines offers daily bus service between Ogunquit and New York City, but it is not direct.

“When you compare it to the other alternatives, it’s a fairly good option,” Blunt said. “It’s not as perfect as the plane option, but it’s obviously less expensive and when you add it all up, we feel it will work for folks.”

Concord Coach Lines began offering bus service between Boston and Portland, Bangor and coastal Maine in 1992. It currently offers 26 round trips a day to Logan Airport or Boston’s South Station. It expects to carry nearly 600,000 passengers in and out of Maine on its Boston route this year, according to the company.


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