March 26, 2022, Marks 40 Years Since CBITD Began Operations as Casco Bay Lines
The Casco Bay Island Transit District (CBITD), Portland’s iconic ferry servicing the islands of Casco Bay, celebrated its 40th anniversary this month. A quasi-municipal, non-profit corporation, CBITD was established in 1981 and officially took over operations of Casco Bay Lines on March 26, 1982. Since then, Casco Bay Lines served as a lifeline to the islands, providing 40 years of continuous service to and from the islands seven days a week, 365 days a year.
The ferry system is one of the oldest in the country, dating back nearly 150 years. However, prior to CBITD assuming the operation, Casco Bay Lines was run by private entities who struggled to maintain service year-round. With the last private owner declaring bankruptcy in 1981, a group of island residents took action to preserve the lifeline. Emergency State legislation was enacted and the newly formed CBITD took over the assets of Casco Bay Lines on March 26, 1982. CBITD has been providing the Casco Bay island communities and visitors 40 years of reliable, affordable, and safe service ever since.
“From the chaos and rubble of 1981 came an incredibly successful entity that is committed to its passengers,” explains Twain Braden, Board President for Casco Bay Lines. “The resilience of Casco Bay Lines speaks to its impact on our local community and the ability to push forward through any challenge. This is an exciting time for Casco Bay Lines, one filled with innovative projects and initiatives, and we look forward to what the next 40 years of service will bring.”
As CBITD celebrates its 40th anniversary, the District invited passengers, islanders, crew members and Board members to reflect on the last 14,610 days of continuous transportation. Through digital content, interviews, giveaways, and a photo contest, CBITD highlighted company milestones, achievements, and memories throughout the month on Facebook and Instagram. Casco Bay Lines also hosted Peter Murray, the attorney for Casco Bay Lines during the events of 1982, at their March 24th Board of Directors meeting to recall the history of the formation of CBITD.
“We are thrilled to be able to celebrate our 40th anniversary and share our accomplishments with the community that made them all possible,” said Hank Berg, General Manager of Casco Bay Lines. “40 years of continuous service is an incredible milestone, and it could not have been achieved without the dedication and support from our partners, Board members, crew, staff, and customers. The future of CBL is bright, and we are steadfast in our commitment to serve our community for the next 40 years and beyond.”
The 40th anniversary comes as Casco Bay Lines was recently granted funding to develop a second hybrid vessel in a long-standing effort to modernize their fleet and further their sustainability efforts. CBL is also currently finalizing work on their Terminal Renovation Project, which includes significant improvements to the site and terminal designed to enhance freight operations and improve overall passenger experience.