A Brunswick Link bus. Courtesy of Western Maine Transportation Services

The Brunswick Link, the town’s public bus system, will be free to all riders for six months starting Oct. 2.

Town Councilor Abby King said this week Mid Coast Hospital and the Immigrant Resource Center of Maine contributed money for the effort after health providers reported people without cars were having difficulty making appointments and the town’s General Assistance Office was becoming “overtaxed” providing bus vouchers to those in need.

“It will be a little bit of an experiment to see how it goes and how it works but I think it will really benefit people in town and also help with connecting the two sides of our town,” King said.

Sandy Buchanan, executive director of the nonprofit Western Maine Transportation Services, which operates the Brunswick Link, said the $17,500 contribution should increase ridership, which she said is returning to pre-pandemic levels.

She said the free rides will especially help asylum seekers new to town.

“It will be easier for both the drivers and new Mainers to navigate and learn the bus system,” she said.


The bus line operates Monday through Friday and has 27 stops around town. Fares are usually $2 for adults, with $5 unlimited day passes and $48 unlimited monthly passes.

In August, riders made 6,702 one-way trips, an increase of about 800 from July, according to Buchanan.

King said Mid Coast Hospital and the United Way of Mid Coast Maine have applied for grants that could pay for another six months of free service.

“I hope we will be able to do it for a year,” she said. “I absolutely want to recognize and thank Mid Coast Hospital, (the Immigrant Resource Center), and the United Way for all of their ongoing efforts on behalf of this project. I believe it will have a direct impact on the ability of all residents to access services throughout town, particularly the multitude of programs and medical practices available at (the hospital’s) East Brunswick campus, regardless of income. And it will free up the town’s General Assistance office from the logistics of dispersing monthly bus passes, allowing them to focus on the alleviation of other critical needs in our community such as housing, food, and heating assistance this coming winter.”

The Brunswick Link launched in December 2021 as a revamp of the old Brunswick Explorer line and designed to cater more to commuters.

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