New Free Shuttle to Connect UMaine, Downtown Orono

Contact: Joe Carr at (207) 581-3571

ORONO — A new shuttle service will enhance travel between the University of Maine and downtown Orono, providing greater access to Orono business for UMaine students while making it easier for town residents and others to visit UMaine for sporting events and other activities.

The “Black Bear Orono Express” will begin operation at 6:55 a.m. Monday Aug. 31, departing from Mill St. in Orono.  After stops on North Main St., at the Orchard Trails residence facility and UMaine’s Student Recreation and Fitness Center, it will arrive at UMaine’s Memorial Union 13 minutes later.  It will leave the Union at 17 and 47 past the hour to return to Mill St.

The service is free to anybody who wishes to take advantage of it.

The shuttle will operate Monday-Friday from 6:55 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on Saturdays from 12 noon-10 p.m.  It will not run on days when UMaine classes are not in session because of scheduled breaks. The UMaine calendar is online here.

Eight partner organizations have joined forces to create this service, including the University of Maine, the Town of Orono, the Orono Village Association, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the Maine Dept. of Transportation, the City of Bangor (BAT), the Bangor Area Comprehensive Transportation System (BACTS) and Orchard Trails.  Those partners have committed to the program for a period of three years, with plans to evaluate it during that time frame for consideration of continued service.

The Maine Dept. of Transportation purchased the two shuttles to be used for this service, which complements the existing public transportation system operated by BAT.  Both shuttles are designed to be accessible by people with handicaps and they have built-in bicycle racks.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony related to this service is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Thursday Sept. 3 in the Orono municipal parking lot behind Pat’s Pizza.