BRUNSWICK

Business leaders from the public and private sector say more public transportation options are needed to help the Midcoast area grow economically.

Brunswick Economic Development Director Linda Smith and representatives from Bowdoin College, Western Maine Transportation Services, Inc., METRO bus transit, Hannaford, Gelato Fiasco and other businesses and nonprofits met Jan. 20 to discuss commuting solutions.

Helping people find a way to get to work on time, reliably and without huge out-of-pocket expense is key, according roundtable participants.

Anecdotal examples from the workshop include a car-less supermarket retail employee who slept in an office room at work to be on time for an early-morning shift.

“We need a downtown bus stop,” said Brunswick Downtown Association Executive Director Debora King.

Local bus service needs to be “reliable, timely and affordable,” Smith said.

Friday’s discussion comes as the Brunswick Town Council considers expanding local bus provider BREEZ service to Portland. The two-year pilot program requires a $50,000 match from the town. Councilor Sarah Brayman suggested a private-public partnership between the town and local employers to help Brunswick raise those funds.

“Private sector engagement from the start would be really helpful,” Brayman said.

Businesses continue to locate at Brunswick Landing, formerly the site of the Brunswick Naval Air Station, according to the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority. Call center company SaviLinx, online retailer Wayfair and Southern Maine Community College would benefit from commuter bus options onto the massive property.

Western Maine Transportation Services, Inc. is exploring new ways to expand service to businesses at Brunswick Landing, and is eyeing expansion beyond Brunswick to Bath and Topsham.

WMTS Community Relations Director Craig Zurhorst said its goal is to help regional economical development.

“We want to do more,” Zurhorst said. “We are working on route deviations. We can get to some of these places.”



Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: