Thursday, August 31, 2017

AABBB: All Aboard Brunswick’s Breez Bus!

               Image result for All aboard brunswick

We know it’s a bit early to judge the success of the new Metro Breez service between Brunswick and Portland, but we can’t help but wonder how the lovely ladies of All Aboard Brunswick are coping with the new approach to inter-city transport.  Are local pharmacies running short on smelling salts?  Or bicarbonate of soda?  Is Hannafords seeing a decline in demand for bubbly and caviar? 

If nothing else, at least Staples should see slight growth for printing new stickers for the ladies to hand out to Brunswick’s always faithful but unrealistic transport groupies.

If so, we wouldn’t be in the least surprised.  The schedule and route flexibility of the Breez service simply blows away Downeaster service between Brunswick and Portland, and by extension, between Brunswick and Boston.  Not to mention the same for Freeport and Yarmouth.  The Breez will get you to Portland for $3, with far greater schedule and stop location than the Downeaster could ever hope to offer.  We can think of no credible reason to choose taking the Downeaster to Portland over the Breez other than fanatical devotion to trains, which in many places in the world, makes one a “foamer.”

For those who want to go to Boston, there is no reason to select the Downeaster as the way to get to Portland as part of that journey.  Taking the Breez to Portland, aside from its far more frequent runs and drop off choices, will get you to the Portland Transportation Center (PTC) where all the options for heading further south open up.  You can choose a Concord Bus to take you directly to your gate at Logan Airport, or choose the Downeaster to drop you off at North Station, where you can get to your downtown Boston destination by other means.

Let’s be honest.  Frank Lee, the combination of the Breez to Portland with the options for getting to Boston from the PTC simply cannot be matched by Downeaster service.  We expect the latter will soon have to put special fare discounts in place to compete with the Breez.  This would increase the annual subsidy required for the train, which if Portland North service were discontinued, could be used to more than cover Breez operations.

This situation is a perfect illustration of why passenger rail service has all but died over the last several decades; it simple doesn’t make sense from any perspective in all but the very fewest cases.  Digging heels in and demanding that no matter the evidence, the Portland North train service must continue, is a breach of the public trust, hanging on to a legacy boondoggle that benefits the few at the expense of the many.

The condition of our roads, bridges, and the rest, especially locally, should make it clear to all but the most gullible and intransigent that it’s time to acknowledge the mistake that was made and correct it.

We don’t see how anyone could look at the details available here and conclude otherwise:

We could simply copy the schedules and route graphics, but that won’t suffice.  You need to look at the information yourself.

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