Frequently Asked Questions
All of the answers to your most frequently asked questions...
Can I bring my bike on board the bus?
Two bike racks are on the front of ALL METRO buses, so take your bike with you.
To take your bike, remove loose items from your bike, release the latch on the bike rack and load your bike onto the rack in front of the bus. Then board the bus. Enjoy the ride. Inform the driver that you will be unloading your bike as you exit the bus.
Where do I find a schedule?
Bus schedules are available at the METRO Office at 114 Valley Street, METRO PULSE at Elm Street (METRO's hub located in downtown Portland off Congress Street, across from the Portland Public Library) and on METRO buses.
Schedules are also available at the Convention and Visitors Bureau, Portland's Downtown District and several other locations in Greater Portland.
Schedules are also available online. Click on the route # under "Route Maps and Schedules" on the left of your screen.
METRO Office hours:
M-Th: 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. / F: 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
METRO Pulse hours:
M-F: 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. / SA: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
How do I ride the bus?
Find out where you want to go and what time you want to get there and then determine which bus routes serve your destination point and starting point. Check the route schedules online or pick up a schedule at a convenient location (please see above).
Look at the schedule serving your destination first, and find the time point on that schedule nearest your destination. Time-points are landmarks or intersections that show estimated arrival times of the bus. Each schedule shows a map of the route, and time points. In most cases, you can get on and off the bus at bus stops between these time-points (there are hundreds of bus stops located along METRO routes).
Then check the schedule for where you want to begin your trip to determine when you need to catch the bus. You should plan to arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes before the scheduled time.
Where do I wait for the bus?
Look for a METRO bus stop signs (located throughout the Greater Portland area.) The routes served are listed on the sign. Use a hand motion to signal the bus driver at the bus stop. It is a good idea to arrive at your bus stop five minutes before the bus is due to arrive. The route you want to take will displayed on the top of the bus (this is called a Destination Sign). But, remember, don’t be afraid to ask the bus drivers questions about the route, when you get on the bus. They are there to help. Most buses also stop at the DownTown Tranportation Center (METRO PULSE), located at the Elm Street Garage.
What is the METRO PULSE?
This is the hub for METRO Bus. Most METRO buses (#2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7) begin and end their route at the METRO PULSE at Elm Street in Portland. The METRO PULSE (also known as the Downtown Transportation Center) is located at the Elm Street Garage (Elm Street is off Congress Street, near the Portland Public Library).
For many routes, this is the place to transfer to another bus (For example, if you live in Falmouth and want to go to the Maine Mall, you would take the #7, Falmouth Flyer to the METRO Pulse location at Elm Street and then transfer to the #5 Maine Mall bus--don't forget to ask for a transfer).
This facility (Open Mon-Saturday) has a large waiting room, rest rooms and a dispatcher available to answer questions and sell bus tickets.
Please note: On Sunday, Routes #1 & #5 are combined for limited service; the route #1/#5 stops along Congress Street but not does not service the METRO Pulse location. METRO Routes #1 and #8 do not service this location directly but they can be accessed along Congress Street, which is a block from this location.
How do I pay to ride?
Deposit exact fare into the fare box. If you have purchased a Regional Monthly Pass (to travel on METRO and South Portland Bus Service), show the bus operator your Pass.
METRO has partnered with middle and high schools in our service area to offer a reduced fare during the school year ($1). Students attending participating schools should present CURRENT student photo ID and ride for $1. If you have a Ten Ride ticket, the driver will punch your ticket.
Regional Monthly Passes and TenRide tickets can be purchased at most Hannaford and Shaw's supermarkets along bus routes and at the METRO Pulse (METRO's intown hub), located at 21 Elm Street in Portland, off Congress Street, near the library or our METRO office, 114 Valley Street in Portland.
How do I signal to get off the bus?
Pull either the vertical or horizontal cord inside the bus or press the yellow strip one stop before your desired stop.
How do I transfer to another bus?
If you need to change buses, ask the bus driver for a free transfer when you pay your fare. When you change to another bus, give this transfer to the next bus driver. Transfers are to be used on the next available bus going to your destination. The time limit on transfers is approximately 1/2 hour.
Please note additional information on transfers:
- Transfers are valid only on the date issued and are issued when bus fare is paid.
- Transfers are not transferable.
- Transfers can be used for continuous travel in one general direction only.
- Transfers may only be used where bus routes intersect.
- The only time a transfer can be used on the same bus is when a METRO Bus & Buy
or Park & Shop stamp is affixed to the back of the transfer.
- Rider must ask for an additional transfer (from the second bus) to transfer more
METRO also accepts transfers from South Portland City Bus (FREE transfers are available between METRO and South Portland) and ZOOM Bus.
FREE transfers between METRO routes, South Portland Bus Service and Zoom/ShuttleBus within Portland area.
Transfer to South Portland Bus and ShuttleBus/Zoom along Congress Street and at the Maine Mall.
Are wheelchairs accessible to buses?
Yes. All METRO buses are equipped with passenger lifts or ramps that can be used by persons with wheelchairs, walkers or persons with disabilities that may require on-boarding assistance. (Weight limits vary and are posted on buses.)
Can I get on an “Out of Service” bus while I am standing at a bus stop or stay on the bus after it’s out of service?
It might be possible for a passenger to board or stay on an “Out of Service” bus, but passengers cannot plan or depend on this option. In some cases, if an “out of service” bus operator sees someone at a stop and their schedule allows, he/she may stop the bus and allow a passenger to board the bus before their regular service (the passenger would pay their regular fare). At the end of a service day, after the last scheduled stop, a passenger may ask the operator if they can stay on the bus to disembark at a bus stop along an operator’s planned route back to the garage at St. John Street.
If I still have questions, how do I get answers?
Call 774-0351 or check out other areas of this site.
Or, ask the bus operator or dispatcher at the Downtown Transportation Center (METRO PULSE), located at the Elm Street Garage.