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Maine by Bus

Updated: Oct 28, 2021

While many trips in Maine are quite short, many of the towns are small.

Outside the urban centres, where congestion makes bus travel appealing, and the arterial bus routes between major cities and towns, how else could buses be implemented in Maine?

Typically speaking, everything being equal, cars are preferred to buses. They take you from exactly where you are, to exactly where you want to go, at exactly the time you want to go. A bus service simply cannot compete with that convenience. The only people who would choose a bus over a car in this situation are die hard bus people, people who can't afford a car, and the desperate.

For example, the most recent time I caught a bus was when I was desperate. I had to meet a friend in Searsport and my wife needed the car for another journey. It was a reasonably painful experience. I had to buy a ticket from Reny's, where the staff were not geared up for the task. A separate register had to be opened, and a qualified member of staff had to be summoned on the loud speaker. The schedule displayed at Reny's differed from those online. I had to call the Portland office that morning to confirm the bus time, as it was closed the previous evening. The ticket instructions were to arrive 30 minutes prior to the bus arrival, which I did. There was no bus shelter, and the day was very hot and humid. I had to sweat it out on the sidewalk. The bus ride itself was quite pleasant. I arrived in Searsport a little before my friend and so I had wait on a gas station forecourt on the edge of town.

However, what needs to happen to make bus travel more attractive is not an improved bus service. Car travel has to be less attractive. Cities do this with congestion – a bus lane so that buses can compete on time, and limited parking so buses can get you closer to your destination.

For the rest of suburban or rural Maine, congestion is not much of a problem. Hence no buses.

Are there other ways to make cars less attractive, without provoking ire in the car-dependant-populace?

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