BSOOB Transit is offering a new bus line servicing Biddeford’s and Saco’s downtowns and the University of New England. The new Silver Line offers free service. Courtesy photo

BIDDEFORD/SACO — Travelling between Biddeford and Saco has just become more affordable thanks to a new, free bus line that runs from the Saco Transportation center to the Biddeford parking garage and back. The new Silver Line, which also connects to the University of New England Biddeford campus, started  service Aug. 1.

According to Biddeford-Saco-Old Orchard Beach Transit Executive Director Chad Heid, who said during a telephone interview on July 30 he had only been on the job for a week, the line, formerly the yellow line, will be free for at least three years if not indefinitely.

“That connection has existed and will continue,” Heid said.

The Silver Line will begin at the at the Saco Transportation Center — where people can also board the Amtrak Downeaster train which travels from Brunswick to Boston with stops in Saco and elsewhere — travel clockwise along Main Street with stops on Biddeford Main Street, to Biddeford’s new parking garage on Lincoln Street, along Elm Street into Saco and back to the Transportation Center, he said.

“It’s a quick little loop that connects to the new parking garage and businesses along Main Street in Biddeford and Saco,” Heid said.

In addition, he said, a second variant of the Silver Line will connect between the Saco Transportation Center and UNE. This, he said, will run every third trip and the university is subsidizing that portion of the route.

On Mondays through Saturdays, the first trip, according to the BSOOB Transit schedule and map for the Silver Line, begins at the Transportation Center at 6:15 a.m., with stops at North Dam Mill in Biddeford, two stops at UNE and back to the Transportation Center. The first trip to the downtown and parking garage leaves the Transportation Center at 6:55 a.m. and stops at North Dam Mill, Biddeford City Hall at the corner of Main and Lincoln streets, the Biddeford parking garage at Lincoln and Pearl streets, then travels to Saco City Hall at Cutts Street, a stop along Main Street in Saco’s downtown and back to the Saco Transportation Center. The Silver Line finishes for the day at 10:15 p.m. at the Transportation Center. On Sundays and holidays, the line will operate between 6:15 a.m. and 7:50 p.m.

The Silver Line is an important component of making the Biddeford parking garage work, Mayor Alan Casavant indicated in his Biddeford Update release.
“During discussions on the construction of the parking garage, the City emphasized the need to have a circulator route to move people who park in the garage, but might have difficulty walking to their destination,” Casavant said. “Additionally, this was a way to reduce traffic congestion, as people would not have to spend valuable time searching for a parking space on the streets.”
“It is important to remember that the parking garage was not constructed in isolation, but together with other moving parts,” he said. “The new bus route was one piece of that puzzle.”
Heid said he hopes the Silver Line will help increase public transit ridership locally.

During the pandemic, he said, public transit throughout the country lost a significant number of riders, and he hopes that more people will return to use BSOOB Transit.

With the tourist season in full swing, “lots of people are using our trolleys,” Heid said. He said he hopes services like the free Silver Line will encourage people to ride public transit more often.

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