Might as well complete the trifecta here! There’s a decent amount going on this summer in RTA land, so let’s see how the changes stack up. This time we’ll be including all fifteen RTAs in Massachusetts, plus RIPTA.
BAT hyped itself up for getting three service improvement grants from Massachusetts; at time of writing, just one of them has actually been implemented, and that’s additional service on the 12 (the Ashmont route). Weirdly, though, even that is off – the press release says they’re adding two additional round trips, when as far as I can tell, far more has been added, mostly in the form of rush hour express trips (although my only point of reference is a timetable from back in March). In any case, I’m all for increased service on this overburdened route, although it should be noted that weekend service, especially Sundays, is still really bad.
What about the other two improvements? New trips to Brockton are supposed to be added to both the 14 from Stoughton and the BSU 28 from Bridgewater. Neither of those have happened yet, but we can only hope they’ll remember to implement them…
Gotta give props to BRTA, they did something cool: the BRTA has added night service on its main north-south routes, the 1 and the 21. It’s just two extra trips, but it brings service as late as 11 PM (sort of, even if that trip is basically just returning to the garage), which is impressive for such a rural area!
As usual, nothing is changing long-term for CATA, although they are adding their usual summer services (the Rockport Loop is already running, while the Ipswich-Essex Explorer and Stage Fort Park Trolley begin this Saturday, June 15th).
CCRTA will be starting its summer schedule on June 22nd, with all of the associated seasonal routes and frequency increases.
The most interesting thing they’re doing is adding a pilot program where seniors can ride free every Tuesday. That’s nice!
No crazy new routes through the middle of nowhere this time! GATRA’s biggest change is just adding a new deviation to a retirement home on the FAB (Franklin Area Bus). Let’s just check the online schedule to see what it is. Huh…it’s not here? And the PDF is the same, too! What’s the service alert say? “Please check with the FAB driver for the new schedule.” Ah. Expert public relations from GATRA, as usual.
This is a huge one: the LRTA is adding Sunday service to ten routes for a 9-month pilot program starting June 16th! Here’s the master schedule: the span is pretty limited (9:30 AM to 5:30 PM max), but the headways are standard, with most of the routes running every hour on a pulse. The three exceptions are the 18 (Downtown Shuttle), which will run every half hour; the 13 (Billerica via Edson), which will run every 90 minutes; and the new combined 15/16 (Westford via Chelmsford Street), which will also run every 90 minutes. Go out there and ride this service if you live in the area, because since they call it a pilot, it’s almost certainly a “use it or lose it” situation. A vibrant city like Lowell deserves bus service seven days a week!
Nothing from MART this time. I eagerly await some random new commuter shuttle at some point!
Nothing permanent, but the 83 to Salisbury and Hampton Beaches resumes service July 1st.
The MWRTA recently (about a month ago) updated schedules for the 1, 6, 9, and 14; I remember trying to figure out what was changing when they first came out, but I guess I didn’t expound enough effort on that because I couldn’t find anything. They’re all just as bad as ever! Also about a month ago, they updated the schedules for some of their commuter routes that I keep trying to pretend don’t exist but I can’t put off forever. These were schedules I was not at all familiar with, but I can’t imagine they changed much other than the running times. Their college shuttles entered into a reduced summer schedule, too.
But there is one interesting change: a new commuter shuttle, the Route 20 Shuttle, has been added. It actually looks awesome, running from Marlborough down Route 20 to Riverside. It makes three round trips in the morning and two in the evening, and if advertised well, it could be a really valuable connection for Boston commuters from Marlborough. I do find it odd that the last evening trip is at 5:30, though – it does return to Riverside at 6:30, but that trip expresses to the yard. You would think that given Riverside’s distance from Boston, there would be one last trip for those who get out of work in Boston at 5 or 5:30.
The newly year-round Nantucket bus system enters its summer schedule between June 15th and June 22nd, depending on the route.
PVTA is doing the same fare-free senior Tuesdays thing that FRTA is doing! Yay! But okay, there are some actual route changes, too. They’re happening (or happened) at different times, so I’ll put the date in there too.
G1 (6/23): Just a weekday running time update to keep buses on schedule.
G2/G2E (Last April): Ugh, the G2’s service was reduced to half hourly. What was the tradeoff? A new express version of the G2. I guess. Look, it is slightly (literally three to eight minutes) faster to Memorial Industrial Park on the express, but is it really worth the lost frequency on the corresponding local route that probably serves far more people?
B7 (6/23): “Departure times in the late evening adjusted to better accommodate transfers at Union Station.” I guess that just means adjusting the 10:20 trip to now leave at 10:25.
B7S (6/23): Ummm…I don’t get this? It’s a new route…running every half hour on weekdays only…that entirely duplicates the B7 until the end, when it goes to a senior center…but that senior center is already served by the X92. Like, the B7 is already every 15 minutes on weekdays. Even if that wasn’t good enough, why would this unnecessary, duplicative, probably bunchy-with-the-regular-B7 variant be the solution? Just use the bus to improve B7 frequency!
P20 (6/23): The last trip of the night will be five minutes faster.
P20E (6/23): After its stint of being Saturdays only, the P20E makes its triumphant return on weekdays! It has a weird inconsistent schedule, with frequencies ranging from ten minutes to two hours, but I suppose it’s overall more frequent than what the weekday schedule used to be. Back then, it was just every-two-hour R29 trips coming from the garage in Springfield; this new schedule is a combination of those trips and new standalone ones. I dunno, it’s weird, but the P20E is a lot faster than its local counterpart…hopefully people can figure out this schedule enough to find the route useful.
R24 (6/23): The route will travel via Hampshire Street instead of Sergeant Street in Holyoke, eliminating a pointless jog. Sounds good to me – now we just gotta deal with every other pointless jog on the R24!
R44 (this fall): Oh snap, who called it way back in 2017? That’s right: THIS guy! But shameless gloating aside, it is nice to see the PVTA turning the R44 into the bidirectional loop that it’s secretly meant to be. The problem is the schedule – the route would run every seventy minutes with the proposed change! And you can tell that this thing is padded to death – I’m almost certain they could get away with every hour without changing anything. For just one example, one direction takes seven minutes to get between Florence Heights and the Hampshire House of “Corretions” [sic]. The other direction? Sixteen minutes. Sorry, through passengers: you’ll just have to sit there and wait. Also…apparently this will only affect weekday service while weekend service stays the same? Yeah, that won’t confuse people!
LOOP (last April): The rare example of the PVTA unpadding a route! The LOOP was way too short to justify running it every hour, so they amended the schedule to have it run every 40 minutes instead. Yeah, I know, I wish it could be every half hour too…
UMass Routes (last May): Everything at UMass Transit is now running on its summer schedules. The 30 and 31 have an added trip in the evening, though.
RIPTA’s summer service changes come into effect June 22nd. Let’s look at each of them.
QX: The Quonset Express is getting extended to Pawtucket to improve access to the area. I don’t know if this is a sign that the route isn’t getting enough ridership or what, but hopefully the extension can attract new users! The route will also gain a stop in the Quonset area at NORAD.
1: The 1 is supposedly getting updated running times to keep buses on time, but…yeah, no, this new schedule is exactly the same.
13: I love how whenever RIPTA updates its running times for better on-time performance, they give the bus less time because there was too much padding! The 13 is one such example – trips will be scheduled about 3-5 minutes shorter.
29: And the 29 is another example! Trips will be about 5-10 minutes shorter.
61x: Huh, this is an interesting development. This route will gain one new trip in each direction, travelling against the peak. These trips are meant to connect to jobs along Metacom Ave; they’ll start at Exchange Terrace without serving the Downcity Loop, then run express (without the 61x’s weird East Side local section) to Seekonk, MA in order to get to TPI Composites in Warren, RI, and finally they’ll rejoin the regular route to Tiverton. Yeah, it’s a little weird, but with good advertising, I think it could bring in ridership. I do wish the new schedule differentiated between AM and PM trips, though, because it’s confusing the way they shaded everything with the same color.
66: The 8:24 AM inbound trip on Sundays will now depart at 8:13 to better connect to the Commuter Rail, a great change to help out Boston-bound passengers from southern Rhode Island. Now, apparently the route will also now serve stops on Post Road near TF Green Airport. I was originally going to get worked up about this (another deviation!!), but…it doesn’t seem to make a difference. Everything about the two schedules and maps is identical. So…I guess it’s fine, then?
67: The 67 will begin its more frequent summer service.
71: Another effort to keep buses from running early; the service will run about 2-3 minutes quicker.
95x: A new outbound trip in the morning and a new round trip in the afternoon have been added to serve students heading to CCRI in Westerly. Now, aside from the obligatory quip about how summer isn’t the best time to make this change, I think this is a great idea. Not only does it help out commuting students without cars, but it adds service to the most isolated large town in Rhode Island.
Back in March, the FR 5 and the NB 8 got new night service on weekdays. I hope that’s going well! As far as upcoming services go, the NB 1 will get a Saturday-only routing from June 29th to August 24th that loops around the peninsula it runs down to serve a beach. I…honestly don’t like this. Having separate routings on weekdays and Saturdays will be confusing, running in a loop that skips out on the major thoroughfare of the peninsula feels like it’s hurting the route’s many regular users for the sake of a few beachgoers, and the beach is literally a four-minute walk from the main road. Like…come on now.
Martha’s Vineyard’s transit system has already begun ramping up service for the shoulder season, but it goes into the full-force summer schedule starting June 22nd.
The WRTA has a series of schedule changes for June 22nd. In classic WRTA fashion, we won’t be able to view the schedules themselves until they become effective, so we’ll see how much we can glean from the descriptions given…
1: “Route will now serve the Worcester Senior Center on all inbound and outbound trips.” I mean…it already does? Maybe this means it’ll deviate in now. It’s a senior center, after all, so I can see why they’d want to make it deviate.
2/6: The 2’s long-standing outbound-only by-request-only Mower Street deviation will be no more. Honestly…fine with me. Also, on Sundays, it’ll form a weird hybrid route with the 6 that serves Worcester State University but only goes as far as Tatnuck Square. Maybe it’s a “best of both worlds” situation, and it’ll be nice for at least part of the 6 corridor to finally get Sunday service, but I just worry the hybrid service might be confusing. Hopefully they make it clear what’s going on – I think MBTA examples like the paper timetables for the 62/76 and 72/75 are good examples of how do do something like this right.
5: I guess the 5 is getting a new layover point? It’ll now end a few blocks south of its current terminus at Mass Audubon’s Broad Meadow Center, a wildlife sanctuary. It’s probably just the closest place where the bus can lay over in an off-street location. Also, the route will start an hour later, at 7 AM.
7: The 7 will stop directly serving the Family Health Center on Sundays. This makes sense, as the Family Health Center is closed on Sundays.
8/40: A new route! The 40 will be eliminated and its bus will be used on the new route 8, which is honestly a much better usage of that vehicle. This is WRTA’s first true foray into crosstown service, running straight up the important Park Ave corridor from Webster Square Plaza to the Greendale Mall. Obviously there’s no timetable for it yet, and they’ve already said it will only be weekdays only, but I really hope this can open up new travel opportunities for riders in Worcester. It’s a great idea.
11: This route has really barebones Sunday service at the moment, so it’s great to see that it’ll be improved. While it currently starts at 12:30 PM, the new Sunday service will begin at 8:30. Fantastic!
14: Because this route’s ridership is heavily based on Quinsigamond Community College, it’ll only run every hour instead of every half hour on weekdays throughout the summer.
25: Rather than its current weekday service to the Auburn Industrial Park, the 25 will instead use Cambridge Street to cut over to Webster Square Plaza. This is a good change – the industrial park is tiny and probably doesn’t generate a lot of ridership, while Webster Square Plaza is becoming a mini-hub on the system with the addition of the 8. Kinda weird that the weekend service will still go to the Auburn Mall, though – it’s awfully different from the weekday!
26: The 26 is apparently gaining Saturday service! It’s already every half hour, so I’m curious what the frequency upgrade will be. I mean, it would be better if they put the extra bus on the 23 to make that every half hour, then marketed the two routes as one every-15-minute trunk route on Lincoln Street, but that’s besides the point…
29: This route will now express through Charlton Center, probably because of low ridership to that deviation, and it’ll use the extra time to extend to Big Bunny Plaza in Southbridge. Southbridge is a bigger destination than Charlton could ever hope to be, so I think serving more of it is a good idea.