This went over really well when I did it for the MBTA, so let’s try it for the RTAs! Each system changes its schedules at different times, so I’m not sure how often I’ll do these round-up posts, but this one will cover any changes that are happening soon or have happened recently (or not so recently…).
No new changes have happened at BAT since July, when they increased their fares by 25 cents ($1.25 to $1.50). If you ride the system regularly, you’re definitely aware of that by now.
One thing to know about CATA: they never change anything. In this sense, they’re keeping the tradition alive.
I actually did review the route in question here, so I’m gonna include it! Starting Monday, the 23 will gain two midday trips. Nothing much to say about it, it’s just a really good addition and provides extra connectivity to Amherst and UMass!
Back in August, GATRA added a new route just to make me as mad as possible. The Wareham-Plymouth Connection seems to be designed to get people to a school, and it is very, very hard to ride. That’ll sure be fun to review!
Also, in February, the system will be undergoing a really hefty fare increase: from $1 to $1.50! They’re quick to point out that it’s their first fare increase in 15 years, but that’s still a lot to ask. The cost of passes and dial-a-ride is rising with the same proportions, but ADA paratransit takes a massive jump from $1.25 to $3.00. I don’t entirely know what the difference between that and dial-a-ride is, but a 140% fare increase is crazy!
The one silver lining is that transfers will now be free. But honestly, GATRA is not really a system designed around transfers, and I can only see them being useful for sneaky return trips (e.g. take the 10 one way to Emerald Square Mall, then “transfer” to the 12 for the return journey).
The LRTA increased its fares somewhat recently (as in, sometime in 2018), but I can’t remember when it happened. Again, if you ride the system regularly, you know this happened by now.
MART’s last big service change was in October, but I’ll go over the main highlights.
Fitchburg Routes: The changes in Fitchburg were small. A few trips at the beginning and end of some routes’ days were removed (making MART end even more ridiculously early than it did before), while changes were made regarding Reliant Medical, which has moved locations. The 7 and 8 no longer serve their former branches of the clinic, while the 9 now has an extra deviation to a new one.
7A: Ah, the 7A…one of the dumbest bus routes I’ve ever ridden. Well, it no longer exists, sort of. The route is now a call-in service with the same hours as the former fixed route. This makes sense – it’s one of the rare occasions where a dial-a-ride vehicle will get more passengers than a fixed route. Seriously, the 7A was really stupid.
11, Gardner – Wachusett Commuter Shuttle: These schedules have been rearranged, I think possibly to provide better connections with each other. The number of trips on the 11 remains the same (with a better balance between the morning and evening now), while the Gardner – Wachusett Shuttle actually gained two trips, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
Athol/Orange Van Shuttle: This is an…odd change. You may remember that this route used to be a horrible messy loop with a million deviations. Now it only runs with one bus, but it’s been dramatically changed to be a linear journey between Athol and Orange! On the one hand, this is a lot more rational, and it can now run every hour instead of every 90 minutes like before. On the other hand, one look at the map is enough to tell you that they should really just extend the G-Link to Orange and use the resources of this bus to put better service on that one. They’re basically the same route at this point.
Back in October, some changes were made to this system’s commuter shuttles. I don’t actually know what they are, but they still connect to trains and serve offices, so they probably weren’t major. Yeah, I’ll probably have to ride those routes at some point…
The PVTA made some big changes back in late summer, but the page announcing them can only be found on the WebArchive now. In short, they added a new downtown loop in Springfield; replaced all service to Wilbraham with a call-in service for residents only; added a new 39E route for seemingly no reason; reconfigured the former X98 for the 50th time; made the R24 even worse; totally rearranged the Palmer and Ware routes to the point where I might have to ride them again; and reconfigured a few other schedules.
RIPTA’s changes came into effect today:
3: Trips are getting padded out to improve on-time performance. This only affects arrival times in the outbound direction, but coming inbound, a lot of trips are leaving earlier than they usually do, so watch out for that.
9x: RIPTA doesn’t really give the full story here. They list a few trips that won’t be deviating to Citizens Bank, but in actuality, only one trip that served it before will be skipping it now. The new rule of thumb is that only reverse peak trips will serve the bank. Also, they’ve changed the times of two inbound trips without telling anyone – one will leave earlier and one will leave later.
10x: This once-daily route will be detouring due to construction. It looks like it’ll actually become more of an “x” route, spending some more time on the highway. Bear in mind that its trip times have changed slightly to reflect the new travel times.
17, 19, 32, 33, 34: These routes used to have a cool arrangement where they would interline through the center of Providence and form one cohesive corridor. Well…no more. RIPTA will be breaking the interline, which is unfortunate. They’re also rescheduling the routes slightly. The 17/19 combo will remain every 30 minutes each on weekdays (every 15 minutes coordinated), but service at night and on weekends will now be every 50 minutes (with 25 minute coordinated headways) – a downgrade from Saturday’s current every 45 minutes, but an upgrade from every hour nights and Sundays. The 32’s weekday-only schedule will stay every hour, but with new times. The 34 will continue to coordinate with the 32 on weekdays with an hourly headway, while on Saturdays, it will go from every 45 minutes to every 40. The Sunday schedule is more or less the same, although with shifted outbound times. The 33’s times are being shifted, with a Saturday increase in service from every 45 minutes to every 40. Also, I never noticed that the 32, 33, and 34 all coordinate to provide service every 15 minutes into East Providence on weekdays. I wish RIPTA made that more obvious, although I guess they do hint at it on their system map…
20: Four new short-turns to RIPTA’s Elmwood Garage have been added, while one has been discontinued. We’ll get to why those new trips have been added later…
50: An inbound school trip in the afternoon has been discontinued.
54: The 8:55 AM outbound trip on weekdays will no longer connect to the 87, not that they ever tell you which trips connect to begin with (get on that, RIPTA). Also, presumably coming from the 87, the former 1:07 PM weekday inbound trip will now depart from Main and High Streets across from Woonsocket City Hall (a different location than the regular starting point) at 1:09. Remember that, because the route’s schedule doesn’t actually tell you this information. It just shows the bus arriving at the next timepoint at 1:16 with a note that says “Trip starts from Main St. at the Municiple [sic] Parking Lot across from Woonsocket City Hall.” Nice, it doesn’t tell us the time, and it needs a round of spell check.
60: Two inbound trips in the afternoon, the 3:03 and 3:33 from Newport, will now depart ten minutes earlier. I’m not really sure why they did this – it creates some annoying scheduled bunches with the supplementary trips that deviate to NUWC, a naval base.
64: Apparently this change was made back in October: the 7:00 AM outbound trip was moved to 6:45. I don’t know why this is showing up on the winter schedule change page, but I’m putting it here anyway!
QX: Oh darn it, of COURSE they had to add a new route! It’s better than some of the super infrequent housing-complex-to-Walmart routes they’ve been creating recently, but this thing still only has just two trips in each direction every day! Anyway, the QX is the Quonset Express, a route providing a much-needed express service to the Quonset Business Park. If they can advertise it well, I think this will be a really well-used route, since there are a ton of jobs in Quonset that aren’t served well by transit (the 14 kinda goes into it, but it’s not meant to get people to jobs). Until April 22nd, the route will be free to ride, so hopefully commuters will try taking a ride! Incidentally, this is why those route 20 short-turns to Elmwood Garage were added – this route runs in service to and from the garage for some reason.
Nothing happening here. Which is good, because I talk about this darn system enough in my regular reviews!
This system’s last service change was in September, when most notably they added a route 3A to the Ecotarium and North High School, and they moved the 5‘s terminus to a residential neighborhood rather than the near-abandoned Southwest Commons.
However, they’re also doing some changes that will come into effect on January 26th. Firstly, they’re eliminating all but one of the 15‘s weird short-turns at Fairlawn Plaza. Why they kept one, I have no idea. The other changes involve new service spans: the 5 is shifting one hour earlier on weekdays; the 6 is gaining an hour at the beginning and end of its service day; the 25 is shifting one hour later on Sundays; and the 27 is shifting an hour earlier on Sundays (leading to overall more service hours at the Auburn Mall between it and the 25, I suppose), but also losing its last Saturday inbound trip. These are pretty neutral changes overall – the WRTA is capable of doing much worse.