Maine — Transportation
Maine Taxis and Car Rental
Maine is a state where the rules of self-sufficiency apply. With public transport at a bare minimum, having your own car is the only viable way to get around. With only one interstate freeway running from north to south, most car travel is done on two-lane country roads. These highways are in fine condition and well marked, but natural hazards from inclement weather and moose demand vigilant driving.
Car rental firms are readily available in all of the major airports in New England and it’s strongly suggested to get one as soon as you land. There are also car rental offices in the large cities of Maine and some of the more popular tourist towns like Bar Harbor. Due to the relatively small population, it’s advised to book rentals early if you plan to travel during the peak summer and fall seasons.
Taxis are only useful in Portland and the major tourist towns like Bar Harbor. In Portland, a taxi can be helpful if your hotel is located deep inland and you want to spend time in Old Port by the water. Rates are reasonable and can be either set or metered. You need to phone ahead for a pick up because cabs do not cruise around looking for customers. Sun Cab Company (+1-207-773-1493) in Portland and At Your Service Taxi (+1-207-288-9222) in Bar Harbor are both reputable firms.
Maine Trains and Buses
The train and bus are viable ways to reach Maine, but impractical for moving around the state. Amtrak trains reach as far as southern Maine, stopping at Portland on the Downeaster Line that starts in Boston, Massachusetts. This route is very scenic along the coast and trains run four or five times every day for a tour of New England. The fares are more than bus rates, but cheaper than flying, and the seats are comfortable.
Long distance buses are the other affordable way to reach Maine, with the best connections going to Portland. Greyhound is the only company that has service from destinations farther than Boston, but within New England there are other regional companies like Concord Coach and Vermont Transit Lines that offer good service. Buses reach more destinations in Maine than trains.
Only Portland has a public bus system known as Metro. It can be useful for travelers staying in Old Port and who don’t have a car, but beyond basic routes, it isn’t of much use for tourists.