Greater Portland METRO is proposing a restructuring of several bus routes, which would negatively impact the very riders who consider the bus an essential service. The No. 1 and No. 8 routes serving Portland’s peninsula would be gutted, leaving elderly and disabled residents stranded, quite literally. The new routes proposed for fall 2022 would operate in both directions, and more frequently, but will mostly cover peripheral areas. They would vacate the hearts of both the East End and West End. Accomplishing essential errands, such as food shopping at Hannaford on Forest Avenue – a stop that would also be eliminated – would create a huge challenge for many residents.
How will we who depend on the buses in our neighborhoods make do when having to haul heavy bundles home, several blocks from the nearest bus stop, while using a cane or walker, especially in winter? Is this just another undermining of the poor and vulnerable in our community? As if a pandemic and its resulting economic downturn aren’t enough?
METRO officials can and should do much better than this. But will they? Or will they leave us home alone without the essential, affordable transportation that we rely on for our very welfare? Only time will tell.