Route 1 service on Munjoy Hill
On August 27, 2023, Metro adjusted service on Munjoy Hill. Route 1 buses now turn right Eastern Promenade to Congress Street. Previously, the route ran along Eastern Promenade to Atlantic Street.
In 2021, the Greater Portland Council of Governments (GPCOG) and the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System (PACTS) published Transit Tomorrow, the region's long-range transit plan. Transit Tomorrow's overarching goals are to make transit easier, create frequent connections, improve rapid transit, and create transit-friendly places. In 2021 and 2022, the GPCOG and their consultants managed the Transit Together planning project, aimed at optimizing the region's seven transit agencies' systems, in an effort to make transit more seamless throughout the region. Unlike Transit Tomorrow, which was a long-range plan, Transit Together focused on existing systems and recommended specific changes to routes in order to improve transit service within each agency's existing resources. Among other recommendations, Transit Together recommended elimination of a portion of Route 1 on the south side of Munjoy Hill between Congress Street and Atlantic Street (the "Atlantic Street loop").
During the Transit Together analysis, GPCOG's consultants held pop-up meetings at high-ridership bus stops and transfer points to gather organic public feedback on two hypothetical service proposals. The elimination of service to the Atlantic Street loop was envisioned in both scenarios presented to the public Public meetings to discuss the changes recommended by Transit Together were held in May 2023, including one in-person meeting at the Portland Public Library on May 17, and a virtual meeting via Zoom on May 18. These meetings were advertised via posters on bus stops and on buses and at our Pulse office on Elm Street, as well as on social media. The image on the right of this page shows an example of a bus stop sign posted in early May, 2023, advertising the possible change and public meeting dates.
The decision was made to remove the Atlantic Street loop from Route 1 service for the following reasons:
Operationally, the Atlantic Street loop can be challenging. Atlantic Street can be congested with larger vehicles, especially fuel delivery vehicles that linger for longer periods of time. This issue is exacerbated by parked vehicles, which have gotten larger in recent years, and snowbanks, which can narrow the effective width of the roadway. Atlantic Street is 32 feet wide, from curb to curb, with parking on both sides -- effectively one of the narrowest streets in Metro's network. In some instances, buses would need to bypass Atlantic Street entirely, resulting in stops missed -- something Metro strives to avoid at all costs. Removal of the Atlantic Street loop improves the overall safety and reliability of the route. There is no alternative route that would allow Metro to safely and reliably serve the south side of Munjoy Hill without significantly impacting our service on Congress Street.
Availability of nearby service
Transit service generally assumes that most people will be able to walk or roll some distance to their bus stop. Locations within a 1/4 mile walk -- for most people, five minutes -- of a local, fixed route bus stop is considered well served by transit. Metro has provided a new stop at the intersection of Congress Street/Emerson Street, which is within 1/4 mile of all of the discontinued stops on the Atlantic Street route. We acknowledge that not everyone will be able to walk or roll to reach a bus stop for any number of reasons. However, direct, door-to-door service is not always possible without sacrificing speed and directness of service. For those with disabilities that prevent them from walking to local transit service, Metro partners with RTP to provide paratransit services.
While ridership is not the only reason to run service to a particular area, Metro does strive to ensure that our routes are productive; that is, running routes where passengers consistently want to be picked up or dropped off. Running service in areas of low ridership adds travel time for those already on board the bus, and waiting time for passengers waiting for a bus further along the route. This can harm ridership, because it makes transit less appealing as an option for people who are traveling on a tight schedule.
Much of Route 1 serves Congress Street, where ridership is robust. Ridership is also strong on North Street, where total ridership (ons + offs) exceeded 300 at all four stops along North Road in on weekdays in March 2023. Ridership along the north side of Eastern Promenade is lighter, ranging from 150 to 250 weekday passengers in March 2023. Along the Atlantic Street loop however, ridership is considerably lower, with total weekday ridership ranging between 60 and 160 passengers in March 2023. This indicates that, for even the busiest stop on the Atlantic Street loop, ridership was about 1 passenger per five trips.
Seasonal fluctuations do occur, but March 2023 is a reasonable snapshot -- a median ridership month during which schools are in session. The same data representing June 2023 is also shown for comparison; 748 weekday round trips took place in June on the Route 1.
The table below shows several Route 1 stops, including the three stops along the Atlantic Street loop that are most affected by the elimination of the loop, other Route 1 stops that are not located on Congress Street, and our busiest stops in the heart of the peninsula for the sake of comparison. Bold rows indicate stops on the Atlantic Street loop.
|Metro Route 1 Stop Location||Ridership (ons + offs, March 2023 weekdays||Ons + offs per round trip, March 2023 weekdays||Ridership (ons + offs, June 2023 weekdays)||Ons + offs per round trip, June 2023 weekdays|
|#1117/#130 -- Monument Square/Portland Public Library||3,153||4.03||3,691||4.93|
|#820/422 -- Portland Transportation Center||970||1.24||1,414||1.89|
|#393 -- East End School||816||1.04||749||1.00|
|#819 -- Thompson's Point||550||0.70||654||0.87|
|#369 -- Mercy at the Fore||473||0.60||499||0.67|
|#216 -- Eastern Promenade at Turner Street||247||0.32||148||0.20|
|#217 -- Eastern Promenade at Vesper Street||151||0.19||131||0.18|
|#383 -- 27 Atlantic Street||87||0.11||88||0.12|
|#214 -- Eastern Promenade at Wilson Street||62||0.08||93||0.12|
Source: Metro Automatic Passenger Count (APC) data
At our August 2023 Ridership and Board meetings, Metro staff agreed to continue to monitor ridership and performance indicators on Route 1 to determine whether the change is having the intended effect of improving the speed, directness, and operability of service without impact to ridership, compared to previous years and months. Metro staff will also meet with the public in the winter of 2024 to hear any feedback on this service change Metro. After considering all of this information, Metro may consider reinstating the service on the south side of Munjoy Hill.
Any questions or concerns can be emailed to Mike Tremblay at email@example.com.