The new bus line, the BlueLine Commuter, runs from Bath to Lewiston with stops in Brunswick, Topsham, Lisbon Falls, Lisbon, and Auburn. Photo courtesy of Western Maine Transportation Services

Bath officials hope a new bus line between Bath and Lewiston-Auburn piques interest in public transportation.

Western Maine Transportation Services launched the line as a pilot program, dubbed the BlueLine Commuter, last week. The line has two stops in Bath – one on Front Street and one in Wing Farm Parkway – a stop in Brunswick, Topsham, Lisbon Falls, Lisbon, Auburn and two stops in Lewiston.

Bath City Manager Marc Meyers said his city has been working to improve public transportation to and within Bath over the past decade.

“The lack of public transportation connection between Bath, Brunswick and Topsham is a challenge that limits connection to health care, employment opportunities and other services,” said Meyers. “The Blueline Commuter is a great step forward to providing regional bus service in our area. We’re happy to continue the conversations to help expand opportunities that benefit Bath and City Bus riders.”

The new line originated from Bath-based Gagne Foods, which produces frozen baked goods in Wing Farm Parkway, looking to provide transportation for employees from Lewiston and Auburn, Meyers said.

Western Maine Transportation Services Spokesperson Craig Zurhorst said a 2017 public transit study also showed a route between Lewiston-Auburn and Brunswick and Bath was needed.


Bath offers the Bath City Bus, which Meyers said is used mostly by elderly residents, those with mobility limitations, or people without a car. Meyers said expanding public transportation to other communities was a priority for the city because it “improves access for these riders to health care, employment opportunities and other services.”

According to a 2021 article in Health Affairs, a peer-reviewed medical journal, studies found access to public transportation improved local residents’ health and healthy equity. In contrast, inadequate public transportation can increase social isolation, particularly for older populations and people with disabilities or others who do not drive, according to the article. This can increase the risk for early mortality, depression, and dementia.

Bath’s median age is about 41, according to the U.S. Census, and 20% of the roughly 8,800 population is over 65.

Councilor Terry Nordmann said he was pleased Bath is expanding its public transportation offerings after he experienced how the lack of that resource can burden residents.

“The bus situation is not up to what it should be for the city of Bath,” said Nordmann. “A few years ago, I had a head injury, and my doctor would not let me drive. I found out how difficult it is to get around if you don’t have somebody driving you. I finally hired someone to drive me around.”

Western Maine Transportation Services also operates the Brunswick Link and provides a link to METRO Breez operated by Portland METRO. As a result, BlueLine riders could get a connection to the greater Portland area and beyond. The line can also connect riders to Concord Coach bus service and the Amtrak Downeaster.

Zurhorst said the company will reevaluate the line in six months and decide whether changes need to be made.

Zurhorst said the line costs $160,000, not including federal subsidies, to run each year.

This story was updated on March 16, 2022 to correctly identify the operator of the METRO Breez.

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