The Green Line Commuter Route includes four round-trips daily between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. Credit: Susan Sharon | Maine Public

For the first time in 50 years, there is regular bus service between Farmington and Lewiston.

The Green Line Commuter Route includes four round-trips daily between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. Riders will also have the ability to connect with regional bus service that goes to Portland, Boston and beyond.

Maine Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman joined officials from the Department of Transportation and the twin cities of Lewiston and Auburn to celebrate the arrival of public transportation into rural, western Maine. Fortman said it will benefit employers trying to fill jobs and workers who want to fill them, but who either cannot drive for various reasons or cannot afford a car.

“I mean one of the things that I have heard repeatedly in the last couple of months is that a major challenge for workers is transportation,” Fortman said. “So this is one more piece that allows workers to get to and from work in a reliable, safe, convenient way.”

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Sandy Buchanan, the general manager for Western Maine Transportation, said the new service is affordable for riders in this rural part of the state.

“To travel the entire route from Franklin County down to Androscoggin County, it’s $5 per trip,” Buchanan said. “If you travel within the county, whether it’s Franklin or Androscoggin, it’s $3 per trip.”

A one-way trip between Farmington and Lewiston costs $5. It is estimated that the average cost of operating a vehicle on the same route is about $11,000 per year, and riding the Green Line daily for a full year is less than half that amount.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.