FORECASTER: Bus lines challenge Metro, USM Gorham deal

  PHOTO BY ROBERT LOWELL. An alliance of private bus lines Tuesday protested METRO’s agreement with the University of Southern Maine to shuttle students to Gorham. Pictured, from left, are Gregg Isherwood of Custom Coach and Limousine in Gorham, bus operators alliance spokesman Mark Robinson, Jason Briggs of VIP Tour & Charter Bus Co. in Portland, and Rick Soules, general manager of Cyr Bus Lines in Old Town.

PHOTO BY ROBERT LOWELL. An alliance of private bus lines Tuesday protested METRO’s agreement with the University of Southern Maine to shuttle students to Gorham. Pictured, from left, are Gregg Isherwood of Custom Coach and Limousine in Gorham, bus operators alliance spokesman Mark Robinson, Jason Briggs of VIP Tour & Charter Bus Co. in Portland, and Rick Soules, general manager of Cyr Bus Lines in Old Town.

PORTLAND — An alliance of private bus operators Tuesday slammed as “direct government competition” an agreement by the Greater Portland Transit District to shuttle University of Southern Maine students to Gorham.

An existing university contract with a private bus company to transport students between its Gorham and Portland campuses is about to expire. METRO and the university announced in August they had reached a deal to launch a new transportation service, to begin in August 2018. The agreement provides public ridership.

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