In an article published Jan. 11, South Portland Mayor Linda Cohen was asked about the possibility of South Portland’s bus service merging with the Greater Portland Transit District’s Metro service. Ms. Cohen stated that her city’s bus service “is doing fine on its own.” As an avid user of public transit, I feel that Ms. Cohen and her City Council are largely missing the point of a potential merger.

Considering South Portland’s environmental pro-activity and visionary approach to climate issues, including developing a climate action plan with Portland, I am startled by the lack of vision surrounding this issue.

The same article mentions that around 100 people transfer to Metro buses on a daily basis, while in February 2016, the Press Herald reported that each day, around 32,000 vehicles pass over the Casco Bay Bridge. These numbers show great potential to increase ridership not only between South Portland and Portland, but also to Scarborough, Cape Elizabeth and beyond.

I can’t speak to what happened between South Portland and Metro 35 years ago, but I can speak to the work Metro is doing now and their commitment to providing quality public transportation with a vision for the future. I firmly believe a solution to the concern over the South Portland bus drivers’ seniority and job security can be found. In order for this to happen, though, Ms. Cohen and her council must focus on the social and environmental benefits of better mass transit rather than dwelling on the past.

Luke Truman