The public transportation provided by members of the Maine Transit Association improves the quality of life for all Maine people in four primary ways: by helping to provide mobility to Maine people, supporting our economy, connecting our communities, and protecting the environment.

MTA member providers offer mobility to Maine citizens who would otherwise be unable to make necessary trips. The elderly are often unable to drive (either due to physical limitations, lack of a vehicle, or because of winter driving conditions). Many people in Maine are unable to afford a car (purchase price, fuel, insurance, upkeep) or choose to live without one. Persons with disabilities rely on us to get to work and to access services. Ferry systems are the “lifeline” for most residents of Maine islands.

Public transportation contributes to Maine’s economy directly, employing Maine people and purchasing goods and services (everything from fuel to uniforms to copy paper) from Maine companies. The public transportation provided brings employees to work, students to school, and customers to retailers, all critical to promoting the economic vitality of the state.

MTA member providers bolster the tourist industry throughout the state. “Explorer” bus routes serve Mt. Desert Island/Acadia National Park (Island Explorer), the Bethel area (Mountain Explorer), the Southern Coast (Shoreline Explorer), Carrabassett Valley (Sugarloaf Explorer), Augusta (Kennebec Explorer), and the Brunswick Explorer.

Transit provides the links that bind communities together. The vibrancy and cohesiveness of our many cities and towns are enhanced by public transit services that allow people to connect with daily work/school destinations, access health care, shopping and recreational venues. In a largely rural state like Maine, public transportation allows people to remain in their homes and continue to strengthen the fabric that defines their town. In our small urban areas, people’s neighborhoods are connected and enhanced by the transit vehicles operating between them.

Public transportation saves fossil fuels by using far less energy per person than a car. Bus/ferry services and commuter services are more economical for riders than driving their own car. Reductions in energy use with reduced emissions improve air quality. Transit vehicles designed to run on alternative fuels further aid the environment we live in. Examples: hybrid (Shoreline and Brunswick Explorers), propane (Island Explorer), biodiesel (a number of providers), and compressed natural gas (METRO).

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