|The bus at the METRO Pulse.|
|Just to let you know, the window had an ad wrap on it that made any photos through it look awful. I did my best with taking pictures out of the small opening, but it took a good amount of the ride to perfect this art.|
|Heyyyy, I'm getting better at this!|
|Going over the river.|
|A plane at the Jetport.|
|The bus at the mall.|
|The terminal! Someday I want to come back here and see what the inside is like.|
|The bus heading back towards downtown.|
Ridership: Alas, METRO joins the ranks of public transit systems that refuse to release ridership by route to the public. Thus, I'm forced to rely on experience for the ridership counts, which showed that the 5 gets a lot of people. My bus had about 30 riders heading outbound and maybe 20-25 going back. Most of them were shoppers coming from downtown Portland.
Pros: This bus is a pretty fast way of getting out to the Maine Mall and other shopping centers, as well as office parks on weekdays. It's also one of the most frequent Portland METRO routes, running every 25 minutes on weekdays, every half hour on Saturdays, and every 45 minutes on Sundays. Finally, I love the way the route treats deviations, with the Jetport and weekday-only Congress Hutchins detours being limited to one-way only. Normally I would dislike the shopping plaza deviations on the 5, but again, they're all part of a loop and they all get people, so I can't complain.
Cons: This is a super tiny nitpick, but I wish there was better indication of the fact that you can get off at Sewell Street to get to the Portland Transportation Center. The only foolproof way of solving this would be automatic announcements, though, and that's something that METRO needs anyway.
Nearby and Noteworthy: That stadium the route goes by is the home of the Portland Sea Dogs, a minor league baseball team. Other than that, there are lots of malls on the outer end of the 5. Take your pick!
Final Verdict: 9/10
The 5 is quite possibly the best route on the Portland METRO. It has very frequent service (including the agency's most frequent Sunday service), and serves a lot. The ridership we got on a Saturday was perfect - full-seated load! There's nothing I would change about the route at all, aside from the fact that it would be benefitted by automatic announcements. However, that applies to METRO as a whole.
Latest MBTA News: Service Updates