Portland Metro Breez bus service was launched on June 16, 2016.
Patty Wight/Maine Public

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.

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.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine Transportation Commissioner David Bernhardt was in the hot seat in Augusta today, defending the decision to contract with a private company to operate the Casco Bay Bridge between Portland and South Portland.

The National Transportation Safety Board has posted to the web underwater video of the wreck of El Faro.  

The Casco Bay Bridge between Portland and South Portland in 2011 in a photo taken by Mike Cempa.
Mike Cempa /

Democrats in the Maine legislature want the state Department of Transportation to explain why it has chosen to privatize maintenance and operation of the Casco Bay Bridge.

The Casco Bay Bridge between Portland and South Portland in 2011 in a photo taken by Mike Cempa.
Mike Cempa /

The Maine Department of Transporation has selected a Florida-based company that specializes in moveable bridge operations to handle routine maintenance on the Casco Bay Bridge linking Portland and South Portland.

WASHINGTON — For the first time in nearly ten years, Congress is poised to pass a multiyear transportation funding plan that will provide additional funding to address state road and bridge needs.

Just before the holiday break, Congress passed a very short extension of legislation that allows federal transportation money to flow to the states for various road and bridge projects.  They were supposed to pass a long term bill before the holiday break.

PORTLAND, Maine _ The Portland Jetport is seeing an uptick in travelers this week ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. Assistant airport director Zach Sundquisd says typically the Jetport sees about 2,000 travelers a day this time of year.

"The past three days, we've been closer to 25...2,600, so it's definitely been an increase," says Sundquisd. "This time of year we get a lot of passengers that haven't flown in a year, so we recommend 90 minutes prior just to give you that extra time to get through TSA."

CRANBERRY ISLES, Maine _ Residents of the Cranberry Isles face some uncertainty over their future ferry service, as the area's longtime mailboat operator looks to get out of the business. But at a special meeting this week, the town took steps to start replacing the service.

The Cat in Yarmouth Harbour, Nova Scotia

PORTLAND, Maine _ Nova Star Cruises has lost its bid to continue running ferry service from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia to Portland.

The provincial government is instead entering into negotiations with Bay Ferries, which used to run a high speed catamaran between the two cities.

Nova Star Cruises had hoped to continue running the ferry for a third season and was one of five companies that submitted bids to the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine transportation officials acknowledge there's a shortfall in the funding available to maintain the state's road and bridge network. State Transportation Commissioner David Bernhardt can even put a number on it.

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) _ A new owner is set to close on the Canadian assets owned by the railroad blamed for a deadly oil train derailment in Quebec.

More than a month ago, parties completed the sale of U.S. assets of Montreal, Maine and Atlantic to a subsidiary of New York-based Fortress Investment Group, which has changed the railroad's name to Central Maine and Quebec Railway.

Bankruptcy trustee Bob Keach said he expects the Canadian closing to happen Monday.

Maine's passenger rail authority has won the go-ahead from federal officials to build its train layover facility in Brunswick. The Federal Railroad Administration has said it doesn't see any environmental threats that would require the authority to conduct a full, environmental impact statement.

A spokesman for neighbors, who've opposed the project, says their battle isn't over. The neighbors could try to go to court to block the project.

Portland Gets First Look at New Nova Star Ferry

Apr 18, 2014
Courtesy: City of Portland

Portland got its first look at the Nova Star cruise-ferry today. The 27,000-ton 530-foot vessel arrived at the Ocean Gateway Terminal at noon, having crossed thousands of miles of ocean in the last few weeks. After an absence of more than four years, daily round trips between Portland and Nova Scotia are due to begin the middle of next month.

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