The 1 used to be the shortest, stubbiest little route, and I always wondered how the heck it could possibly get ridership. Ever since the demise of the 22, though, the 1 has been rerouted to cover some of the lost service, as well as extended to Walmart for…some reason. Sure, why not?

The bus at the busy Central Hub.

We headed down Grafton Street after going around a rotary. The street went under the Commuter Rail tracks and paralleled the elevated I-290. Soon, Grafton Street went under the highway and got pretty industrial, but a block later we made a sharp turn up the hilly Waverly Street.

A little parking lot.

We soon turned onto Providence Street, going further up the hill and passing dense triple-decker apartments. As we approached Dorchester Street, we went by Worcester Academy and some retail, then we turned onto Dorchester. This took us even further up the hill…and then back down, very steeply.


Alongside Worcester East Middle School, with a park on the corner, we turned onto Grafton Street. There were a few businesses at a complicated intersection where we merged onto Massasoit Road, then turned onto Heywood Street. Now the residences were a little further apart, and there were more single-family houses in the mix.

A side street.

We passed a few housing developments, then outside of the Worcester Senior Center, we turned onto Providence Street again. After going by a field for a bit, we turned onto Holcombe Street, which was a steep road going back up the hill. Next, we turned onto Granite Street, continuing to ascend alongside more triple-decker apartments.

Along Granite Street.

Eventually, we arrived at the Holy Name High School, and it turned out that this was a deviation to serve it. Now the bus had to turn around, and it struggled to make it around the very sharp bus loop. We retraced our steps all the way back to Providence Street.

This is all the bus has to turn around??

We continued alongside that field from earlier, as well as more apartments – including some buildings. The road went by another school, then after some pylons, it grew a lot wider. We crossed Route 146, then turned onto one of its service roads, Tobias Boland Way. This took us to our final stop: Walmart.

The bus at Walmart.

WRTA Route: 1 (Union Station Hub – Mount Saint Ann via Providence Street)

Ridership: Back in its short state, the 1’s ridership was pretty bad: 265 people per day. Admittedly, our trip only had about 7-10 people on board, so it hasn’t increased too much since then.

Pros: The 1 definitely serves a purpose, and many of the residential neighborhoods it covers are dense. The schedule is generally sensible, with service about every hour, seven days per week.

Cons: It’s not quite every hour – the times shift by five minutes every once in a while throughout the day. Also, the route is really indirect, and it’s definitely not the fastest way of getting to Walmart. Speaking of Walmart, why doesn’t the route do the same loop that the 4 and 11 do? It’s really unclear that it doesn’t serve the stop along the loop, as Nathan and I found out when a bus passed us by because we had no idea it wasn’t coming our way.

Nearby and Noteworthy: Still, there isn’t much of note along the rest of the route, so…I guess I’m gonna have to say Walmart here.

Final Verdict: 6/10
The 1 is a fine route, serving local residential areas once an hour. It does have a few problems that could be ironed out, like the weird five-minute shifts or the fact that it loops around at Walmart differently. Still, these are relatively easy fixes.

Latest MBTA News: Service Updates