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New Bus Route Makes It Easier for PPS High School Students To Use METRO

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New Bus Route Makes It Easier for PPS High School Students To Use METRO
Posted on 08/19/2015
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The Portland Public Schools is reminding high school students that they will be using METRO’s public transportation system this fall to get to and from school and extracurricular activities. They also will have the freedom to use METRO for jobs and recreation. PPS students’ Transit Pass allows free and unlimited use of METRO bus routes during the academic school year, including weekends and break periods.

This partnership between METRO and the Portland Public Schools provides a METRO Student Transit Pass to all high school students enrolled in Portland, Deering and Casco Bay High Schools, including students living within two miles of school, who previously weren’t eligible for transportation by district school buses. The program gives the school district greater flexibility and efficiency when it comes to the transportation of students.

“This partnership represents a more efficient use of taxpayer dollars while helping to improve our public transit system for all residents,” said METRO General Manager Greg Jordan. “The program will provide students and families greater transportation options and flexibility as well as teach students the value of public transit so they may be more likely to use transit as adults.”

On Aug. 16, METRO launched a new Route 9 that will make it easier for students to get to school. That new route provides bus service to all three of Portland’s public high schools, including limited additional service to North Deering neighborhoods. It provide bidirectional service and improves crosstown trip options.

METRO officials caution that the first few weeks following the first day of school on September 2 will be a transition period for both students and current transit riders. To accommodate heavy passenger volume, METRO is adding buses, increasing frequency and providing bus operators with special training. Students are asked to plan ahead and, whenever possible, take a bus that will get them to school with some time to spare. Students are encouraged to use METRO’s Google trip planner at www.gpmetrobus.com. Students can also contact METRO staff for trip planning assistance by calling 207-774-0351.

“As this new program launches, METRO staff will be actively monitoring operations and passenger loads so we can quickly address any problems,” added METRO General Manager Greg Jordan. “We strongly encourage students to try out the transit system before the first day of school and even do a test run of their trip to school.”  To help students gain experience with using transit, all students received their passes in June and were allowed to use METRO’s bus routes throughout the summer. In July METRO recorded 5,882 boardings by Portland’s high school students.

All Portland Public Schools students will have 20 more minutes of learning time added to each school day, starting this fall. The longer school day has resulted in revised bell schedules for the schools and the decision by the Portland Board of Public Education to have high school students use public transportation to travel to and from school and extracurricular activities. As a result of this program, the majority of high school students will use METRO.  (School bus specialized transportation will continue to be provided for high school students who need it.)

High school students received a code of conduct, safety and user tips and student pass program policies when they received their pass. The Portland Public Schools also will provide families with more information about METRO service via emails, postcards and announcements on the district website and in social media before school starts. Visit METRO’s website at www.gpmetrobus.com for route maps, schedules and additional information.