AMERICAN JOURNAL: Bus alliance battles to reinstall USM shuttle bidding

GORHAM — Owners of local bus lines are banding together to try and reverse the University of Southern Maine’s shift to METRO from private bus operators to shuttle students between the Gorham and Portland campuses. (FULL ARTICLE CLICK HERE)

The agreement with METRO opens up public transit for Gorham.

Private bus operators have contracted with the university for decades to transport university students. But, a METRO service begins in August 2018 when a contract with Custom Coach & Limousine, a Gorham company, expires.

The alliance of bus operators, claiming unfair competition from METRO, is upset that private companies didn’t have the opportunity to bid for the university’s shuttle service and that taxpayers’ money will subsidize the deal with METRO, the Greater Portland Transit District.

A university sophomore, Valerie Ziehler, said Tuesday afternoon while waiting inside Bailey Hall on the Gorham campus for the Custom Coach bus she likes the current bus service. She said buses are always on time and she has never experienced a problem.
— Robert Lowell, reporter, American Journal

Now, the alliance of bus operators is mounting a letter writing campaign in hopes of reversing the university’s decision. They are reaching out to political figures and the university’s campus newspaper while turning to social media to contact students.

 “My company has been providing direct shuttle service, with bike racks, between USM’s Gorham and Portland campuses for several years,” Gregg Isherwood, owner of Custom Coach, said in a recent letter to the editor of the USM Free Press.

“My company and others will be meeting with many public leaders to discuss this very unwise change in the very near future.”

  Photo by The Forecaster: Some University of Southern Maine students disembark from a shuttle bus Tuesday afternoon in Gorham while others board for a return trip to the Portland campus.

Photo by The Forecaster: Some University of Southern Maine students disembark from a shuttle bus Tuesday afternoon in Gorham while others board for a return trip to the Portland campus.