Portland's Public Transit System Provided Record Number of Rides in 2016

Jan 25, 2017

The metro system provided 1.8 million rides in 2016, up 15% from the previous year. That surge reflects the first full year since the city school system ended bus service for high school students and have them public transit passes instead. That’s according to Gregory Jordan, general manager of the Greater Portland Transit District.

Metro ridership from 1996 through 2016
Credit Greater Portland Transit District

Jordan says there were several other initiatives that are driving up ridership. They include increased Sunday service, new routes and shelters, and the launch of a texting and online app that tells you when your bus will arrive.

“Which goes by the name Southern Maine transit tracker,” Jordan says. “That’s been a bit of a game changer we think in terms of people’s ability to know when the next bus is coming. That’s been a really popular feature.”

Jordan adds that the new “MetroBreez” service between the city, Yarmouth, Freeport and Falmouth is a success — and he hopes to convince Brunswick to join up soon. A pass program for University of Southern Maine students is in the works too.