BRUNSWICK — Ridership on the Metro Breez commuter bus has nearly doubled since Portland-to-Brunswick service was added in August.

Denise Beck, Metro’s director of marketing, said weekday ridership averaged 80-100 riders before the Brunswick expansion, when the commuter bus ran between Portland and Yarmouth and Freeport. After the Brunswick launch, numbers rose to more than 150, with some days over 200 riders.

The number of Saturday riders has increased, too. The Breez had an average of 50 Saturday riders before the expansion, and has climbed to more than 100 with the addition of Brunswick.

The fare is $3, and the route offers 14 daily weekday round trips and six on Saturday, with four stops in Brunswick, five in Portland, three in Yarmouth and three in Freeport.

Amanda Redlich, assistant professor of mathematics at Bowdoin College, is one of many Portland residents who have taken advantage of service. Redlich said it takes about an hour for her to get to work on the bus. Though her drive to campus used to take about 20 minutes less, she said she uses the extra time to get a jump on her day.

“The amount of time is more, but now I can do grading when I’m traveling or check emails or stuff like that, so I feel I’ve gained time,” she said.

The decision to add Brunswick to the route, which was launched to connect Portland riders with Yarmouth and Freeport in June 2016, was accepted by the Brunswick Town Council last July, following an initial vote in March.

The program is partially grant-funded and requires the town of Brunswick to pay $50,000 for the first year of service and $60,000 for the second. Bowdoin College will also pay $10,000 toward the Brunswick route for two years.

The contract will expire June 30, 2019, when the town will evaluate the route’s success.

The college signed on, in part, with expectations that the added Brunswick stops would help Portland-based employees like Redlich.

Matt Orlando, senior vice president for finance and administration and treasurer at the college, said he thinks ridership on the route will only get better as word of its convenience spreads.

Orlando said he thinks ridership is driven by Portland commuters, including Bowdoin faculty and students who need to get back and forth.

“We’re really pleased and we think it’s a fantastic thing for the community and for Brunswick,” he said.

Elizabeth Clemente can be contacted at 781-3661 ext. 100 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: epclement