Greater Portland Metro Executive Director Greg Jordan addresses Gorham councilors Tuesday. Robert Lowell / American Journal

Greater Portland Metro hopes to keep bus service rolling for all riders in Gorham, but the town must join Metro to avoid the Husky Line service reverting to being available just to USM students and staff, according to the executive director.

The cost to join the regional transportation system, with representation on its board, would be $170,000 for this year, Greg Jordan told the Town Council at a workshop Tuesday.

The council expects to further discuss joining Metro at its March meeting.

Gorham began paying $35,000 a year for the Monday-Friday Husky Line service in 2018, when it was launched as a pilot program. The line shuttles University of Southern Maine students and faculty members with passes between the campuses in Gorham and Portland. It makes stops on Main Street in Gorham near Hannaford and in downtown Westbrook and Rock Row. Husky Line riders can also transfer to other routes served by Metro, such its Route 3 bus through Westbrook to the Maine Mall in South Portland.

The public can ride the Husky Line for a fare of $2 or $1 for seniors, disabled people, veterans and youth.

“We added new stops at Libby Avenue (in Gorham) in May, and extended the route into Portland’s Eastern Waterfront in August, the latter of which has generated significant ridership for the route,” Mike Tremblay, Metro’s director of transit development, told the American Journal Wednesday. “So we expect Husky Line ridership to be higher in 2024 given these improvements.”


Ridership was about 159,000 last year and, excluding USM passes, about “10% of all trips on the Husky Line originate in Gorham,” Tremblay said. That equates to 15,900 passengers boarding in Gorham last year.

USM passes account for about 66% of about Husky Line ridership. Boarders without USM passes made 53,250 Husky Line trips in 2023, and of those, 5,325 originated in Gorham, Tremblay said.

Town Councilor Phil Gagnon said he had concerns about parking for Gorham bus riders. Gagnon said new fees to park on the Gorham campus coupled with bus passengers from Standish, who park in Gorham to ride into Portland, are “exacerbating” parking congestion in the Village and at the Hannaford lot.

Jordan told councilors he’d be “more than willing” to work with the town and Hannaford on the parking issue.

Westbrook’s Metro bill for 2024 is $945,043, Tremblay said.

“This reflects Westbrook’s share of the Husky Line, but also their portions of Route 2, Route 3 and Route 4 service, all of which have segments in Westbrook,” he said.

This story was updated Feb. 15 for new information clarifying Husky Line ridership figures.

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