MaineHealth will offer its Portland-area employees free public transit in an effort to reduce traffic congestion and parking issues around its expanded flagship hospital on Congress Street in Portland.

About 10,000 workers at Maine Medical Center and at least six other MaineHealth offices in and around Portland will only have to show their employee badge to board Greater Portland Metro buses and shuttles and South Portland buses for free.

“We are taking this important step in order to reduce vehicle traffic on our roads and to help the environment, supporting our vision of working together so our communities are the healthiest in America,” Jennifer McCarthy, Maine Medical Center chief operating officer, said in a statement.

“It also provides an attractive option to colleagues who want to make that positive impact while saving money on gas, vehicle maintenance and, now, public transportation costs.”

MaineHealth signed a three-year agreement with Metro for the service. The passes are sold at a 67% of the regular price, said Metro general manager Greg Jordan. The hospital company will be billed for how many workers use the bus, he said.

The program is similar to arrangements with other public and private partners, such as the University of Southern Maine, Jordan said.

An annual boarding cap starts at 107,000 passengers in the first year and goes up to 131,000 in the third year of the contract.

“These programs give students and employees alike a great incentive to choose public transit and will help alleviate traffic congestion, reduce parking demand and help Metro continue improving transit in our region,” Jordan said in an email.

The transit program is part of MaineHealth’s traffic demand management for the $525 million expansion of Maine Medical Center. The project includes added patient beds, offices and a parking garage in Portland’s West End.

The aim is to reduce single-occupancy vehicle rides into the complex by encouraging employees to carpool, use public transit, walk or bike to work.

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CORRECTION: This story was updated at 5 p.m. on June 26, 2019, to correct the amount of the discount. 

 


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