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Public Transportation Planning
Transit continues to play an increasing and critical role in the CMRPC region. Overall, transit serves approximately 0.5% of all person trips in the region. Within the City of Worcester itself, approximately 1.3% of all person trips are served by transit. However, transit serves a critical role because of its impact on downtown Worcester traffic flow and because of the market segment transit serves.
Worcester Regional Transit Authority
The Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA) is the single most important provider of fixed-route and paratransit services in Central Massachusetts. The WRTA provides service on 23 weekday fixed-routes serving the City of Worcester and eleven (11) surrounding communities. Service extends as far out as Brookfield in the east (18 miles from Downtown Worcester) and Webster in the south (20 miles). In addition, the WRTA also provides paratransit service in Worcester.
The WRTA contracts with 10 Councils on Aging and one private non-profit agency to provide additional paratransit service to the other 34 communities. Due to the dominance of fixed route service offered in Worcester, the entire city has been blanketed with ADA level paratransit service. Outside Worcester, ADA level service is offered within a ¾ mile buffer within the hours and days of fixed route service but additional non-ADA level paratransit service is offered by the local Council on Aging. This additional service operates weekdays, typically 8:00am-4:00pm and provides an important local service to elders and people with disabilities in the towns who are typically more transit-dependent.
CMRPC partcipates in the South Central Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) which is made up of transit providers and human service providers. Together these groups work together to address and improve transportation options in the region. The Public Transit - Human Services Transportation Plan was prepared with input from the RCC and other transit related groups. It identifies gaps and needs in the region and progress made during the past few years to address the identified issues.
Since 1975, CMRPC staff has provided transit planning and data analysis services to the WRTA. For more information about the WRTA, click here.
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
The MBTA provides commuter rail service between Worcester's Union Station and Boston's South Station. Under contract with the MBTA, the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad operates commuter trains throughout Eastern Massachusetts including the 44 miles of tracks for the Framingham/Worcester Line. Commuter rail service to the CMRPC region is currently 13 inbound and 12 outbound trips per weekday and five (5) roundtrips on weekends. Service can be accessed from Worcester’s Union Station, Grafton Station (Pine Street and Route 30) and Westborough Station (Smith Parkway). For more information about MBTA commuter rail service, click here.
Peter Pan Bus Line and Greyhound Lines, Inc. are the two major intercity bus carriers providing service in the region. Since moving to Worcester’s Union Station in August 2006, both Peter Pan and Greyhound have seen anecdotal increases in passenger ridership. For more information about Peter Pan, click here; for more information about Greyhound, click here.
As the United State's only nationwide intercity passenger rail network, Amtrak serves more than 500 destinations in 46 states on 21,000 miles of routes, with approximately 19,000 employees. In Massachusetts, Amtrak operates approximately 56 trains daily, including the Acela Express and Regional trains on the Northeast Corridor, and boarded/alighted almost 2.8 million passengers in FY 2010. Amtrak also operates shorter-distance trains through Massachusetts, including The Downeaster (daily Boston - Portland, Maine), The Vermonter (daily Washington, DC - St. Albans, Vermont), and The Lake Shore Limited (daily Boston – Chicago). Worcester’s Union Station is served by The Lake Shore Limited and the station currently handles about 7,400 Amtrak passengers per year. For more information about Amtrak, click here.
Contact: Jonathan Church
Resources & Documents
- Westboro Shuttle Webpage
- WRTA System Map
- WRTA Hub at Union Station
- Massachusetts Association of Regional Transit Authorities
- Public Transit - Human Services Transportation Plan