The kickoff of Metro’s public transit expansion to Gorham drew several speakers Monday at the University of Southern Maine campus in Portland. Pictured, from left, are Gorham Town Councilor Marla Stelk, Metro President John Thompson, Portland City Councilor Belinda Ray, Metro General Manager Greg Jordan, USM President Glenn Cummings  and Westbrook City Administrator Jerre Bryant.

Gorham Town Councilor Marla Stelk, right, and Michelle Belhumer, executive director of Gorham House, Monday check out the new Husky Line buses now serving Gorham.

Metro’s Husky Line buses now serve public riders in Gorham.

GORHAM — Metro launched its expansion into Gorham on Monday with public ridership available aboard new Husky Line buses shuttling University of Southern Maine students between campuses in Portland and Gorham.

University students, faculty and staff will ride free with passes while public riders will pay fares with discounts available for senior citizens and those disabled. Riders can transfer to destinations throughout the Metro service area.

“It’s going to be really great for our seniors,” Gorham Town Councilor Marla Stelk said at Monday’s press conference at the university’s Portland campus.

The express bus route will link Gorham with Westbrook and Portland. “This is a great day for public transit,” Westbrook City Administrator Jerre Bryant said.

Public riders can board the new Husky Line buses on Main Street in Gorham Village near Hannaford. In Westbrook, riders bound for Gorham can board at a bus shelter at Mechanic Street and William Clarke Drive while Portland-bound riders in Westbrook can board in front of the former Mechanic Street fire station.

University President Glenn Cummings thanked many, including Metro, the town of Gorham and the city of Westbrook, for making the Husky Line possible. “This is a major step forward for USM,” Cummings said. “This is an incredible win-win-win for us.”

The Husky Line is served by colorful buses emblazoned with the university’s Husky mascot.”They’re beautiful buses,”U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree said. “People will jump on board just to charge their cell phone.” The buses are equipped with USB ports.

Robert Lowell can be reached at 854-2577 or email [email protected]