A Brunswick Explorer bus. Town officials are working with the DOT to look at surrounding public transportation and possibly redesign the route to add more stops, particularly to Brunswick Landing. Photo courtesy of the Brunswick Explorer

BRUNSWICK — State and town officials are working on a redesign of Brunswick’s Explorer bus route that could either expand service to areas like Brunswick Landing and Maplewood Manor or increase the overall frequency of service, but likely not both. 

Town councilors approved a $100,000 Maine Department of Transportation transit study in February to explore ways to better link the town’s existing public transportation services (the Explorer, Metro BREEZ, Bath City Bus, Amtrak Downeaster, Concord Coach and Greyhound) and increase service to growing and underserved areas of town. 

A virtual public information meeting in September helped identify some of the deficiencies in the system and a second meeting on Thursday aims to poll possible solutions.

Officials are considering three options. 

The first would serve Brunswick Landing on every trip and provide service to Pegasus Landing, Coastal Shores Assisted Living, Coastal Landing and destinations on Neptune Drive. Currently, the 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. bus service’s only Landing stops are Southern Maine Community College, the corner of Burbank and Orion, the YMCA and the Brunswick Naval Aviation Museum. The scheduled stops only run at 7:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. and the YMCA and museum are by request or flag only. 

The second alternative provides service to Brunswick Landing using the existing stops but would serve Brunswick Landing on every trip. 


The third alternative takes Brunswick Landing’s existing route with increased frequency and adds an extension to Maplewood Manor, a mobile home park. This option would necessitate slightly less frequent service overall. 

“Some of it comes down to a question of a balancing game,” Town Engineer Ryan Barnes said. “You can have something, but what are you willing to give up? Would you rather have faster service or more stops?” 

A recent survey asking for public input had more than 100 responses before it closed on Friday, a “good turnout” for something like this, he said. 

After Thursday’s meeting, Barnes said project officials hope to have at least two alternatives, one being revenue neutral, which will make the routes more efficient but not require more buses. 

It’s still too early to say what price tag a non “revenue neutral” option might carry, he said, and the issue will have to go before the town council before anything is decided.

The council initially authorized the $98,180 transit study in response to rapid growth at Brunswick Landing due to continued business and housing development as well as the arrival of dozens of asylum seekers from Africa the previous summer. 


The town is responsible for about $20,000 of the funding and will pay for it with transportation TIF funding. TIFs are a common financing tool used by municipalities that funnel any increased tax revenue in a defined district toward specific purposes like infrastructure developments that will help spur economic development without increasing property taxes across the board.

In authorizing the study, councilors said they also wanted it to consider expanding service to other parts of town, particularly lower-income areas where people may not have other reliable transportation. 

According to Barnes, the town reached out to partners at the local schools, colleges and hospitals as well as employers at Brunswick Landing and representatives from the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority among others. 

“A lot of what we identified (as problems) were things people already knew were likely the case,” Barnes said, citing poor connectivity to other transportation, limited service to the landing and other parts of town, slow, infrequent trips. The study and associated funding is an opportunity to approach the problem with a fresh set of eyes, “reorient and make it as efficient as possible,” he said. 

A report is anticipated by the end of December, with improvements eyed for the first quarter of 2021, according to a Maine DOT representative.

For more information visit the transit study website at brunswicktransitstudy.com

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