BRUNSWICK — A couple of years ago, I saw that Portland Metro was going to start service to Freeport. I said to myself, “Oooh, that’s so close!” Then I learned that the Brunswick Town Council was considering bringing the bus service here. Sure, it would require a subsidy; and sure, Council was considering a big investment in school construction and improvements; and sure, there was a tax re-valuation process underway – for the first time in over a decade – making people crazy.

But, regular bus service from Brunswick to Portland? How great would that be?

Last spring, Council approved the local contribution, with support from Bowdoin College. And Aug. 24 the inaugural run left Brunswick at 9:20 a.m.

I’ve never lived in a place with regular bus service like this; I wasn’t even sure how to go to another town on a bus. But the next day, I needed to be in Portland at 9. I checked the Breez schedule: There’s a bus leaving at 8:15 that will get me to Monument Square by 8:57.

So, my Big Bus Adventure began.

Breez offered free rides last week, so I thought it would be packed. But there were only four of us on the 18-passenger bus. Of course, there’s another trip at 9:20, one at 10:40 … 14 all together starting at 6:05 a.m., with the last one at 8:05 p.m.

The last bus back from Portland leaves Monument Square at 9:15 and gets to Brunswick at 9:57. On Saturdays, there’s an abbreviated schedule, but the late run is the same.

My fellow passengers included two folks who were going to Portland just for an outing. The other rider was Jamie, who teaches at a pre-school near Monument Square. He and his wife share a car and she works in Wiscasset, so the Breez could make their life a lot easier. In Freeport, we picked up a man who’s at Maine College of Art and he, too, has a wife and only one car. Could people commuting by bus to work or school in Portland become a trend?

The 8:15 bus is an “express” which means it skips the Yarmouth stops. We were at Monument Square right on time. The coach is clean and comfortable and offers free Wi-Fi. What’s not to like?

I left just in time for the 1:40 p.m. northbound bus. This was a little tricky for a first-timer: I couldn’t find the northbound bus stop. It’s just west of the Monument and a Metro driver confirmed that this is where the Breez comes.

There were seven other passengers. A couple of them seemed to be “regulars” for the Portland-Freeport run. Another woman was going to Brunswick pretty much to check it out; she heard that they’ve planted flowers to welcome the Breez. People coming to and going from Brunswick just for fun, another trend?

This time we stopped in Yarmouth, and I decided to get off in Freeport. The whole trip from Portland: 32 minutes.
On a non-free day, I would need to pay for a second ticket to get to Brunswick. I spent an hour or so strolling, shopping, eating gelato. The Breez was supposed to come at 3:17, but it was a little late. My one fellow-traveler had spent the afternoon having lunch in Yarmouth and visiting Freeport. He works from home in Brunswick and thinks he may be able to live without a car if the Breez works out.

Back at Brunswick Station, I went to the Visitors’ Center to buy a 10-ride pass. Being a woman of a certain age (over 65), I paid $13.50. $1.35 per ride. The “way life should be,” indeed!