Worcester Regional Transit Authority

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WRTA to add service to Southbridge

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 16, 2013

SOUTHBRIDGE_ Increasing its fixed-route service in 2013 is one of the core strategies of the Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA). Beginning on Monday, Jan. 28, 2013, the WRTA will provide service to Southbridge and one stop in Charlton.

The WRTA will meet with town residents on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, at 10 a.m. at the Charlton Town Hall, 37 Main St., Charlton, to obtain public comments on the new service.

“This new service will give the citizens of Southbridge and Charlton the opportunity to utilize public transportation,” said WRTA Administrator Stephen O’Neil. “It has been one of the WRTA’s top goals to continue increasing its service to other cities and towns in the Central Massachusetts region. This service is the start of what we hope will be a continual expansion of our services.”

Southbridge Town Manager Christopher Clark said this fills a need for the community. Three to four years ago Clark called a social service summit that involved approximately 30 different groups.

“One of the top three concerns amassed from almost every group was that transportation was an issue,” he said.

At this summit, a young man with special needs, who could not drive, told his story of how it cost him $35 just to take a cab from Southbridge to Walmart in the neighboring town of Sturbridge. He added that he ended up walking from Southbridge to Worcester to be able to visit his girlfriend because the expense of taking a cab to these places was just too cost prohibitive.

“During this summit we found the lack of public transportation to be a real issue,” Clark said.

Clark found this extremely telling and followed up with O’Neil to share his findings and the dire need for public transportation in his town. That conversation set the ball set in motion to explore adding Southbridge to the WRTA’s service area.

“Large mass transportation is very expensive and municipal government can’t take on such a big problem like that,” Clark said, adding the town did explore a taxi service, limos and elder bus service but these did not meet the town’s needs.

The new WRTA service will afford Southbridge residents the ability to travel to and from Worcester, which Clark sees as a positive strategy to increase employment for Southbridge residents by bringing them to Worcester. Currently, Southbridge is three percent above the state unemployment average.

“It will be good for some of our residents to have an affordable bus service into Worcester,” Clark added.

The new Southbridge Route 29 service includes two trips to and from Worcester each day. All other trips will be between Auburn Mall (connections can be made into Worcester on Bus Routes 27 and 42) and Southbridge. Below is the Route 29 schedule.

Outbound regular routing: Starting from the Auburn Mall bus stop, the bus turns left on Southbridge St., turns right onto Route 20 and follows Route 20 to Charlton, turning left onto North Main St., then right onto Masonic Home Rd., then left onto Route 20, and left onto Southbridge Rd. (Rt 169). The bus enters Southbridge, turns left onto Mechanic St. and finishes near the intersection of Mechanic St. and Optical Drive.

Outbound from Worcester: Starting from Union Station, the bus continues straight on Foster St. to McGrath Blvd., bears left onto Southbridge St., then left into the Auburn Mall bus stop, turns left on Southbridge St., turns right onto Route 20 and follows Route 20 to Charlton, turning left onto North Main St., then right onto Masonic Home Rd., then left onto Route 20, and left onto Southbridge Rd. (Rt 169). The bus enters Southbridge, turns left onto Mechanic St. and finishes near the intersection of Mechanic St. and Optical Drive.

Inbound regular routing: The bus departs via Mechanic Street in Southbridge, turns right on Main St., right onto Central St., and departs Southbridge via Worcester St. (Rt 169), enters Charlton, turns right on Route 20, and then right on Masonic Home Rd., left onto North Main St., and then right on Route 20. The bus enters Auburn, left on Southbridge Street, left into the Auburn Mall to connect with Routes 27 and 42.

Inbound to Worcester: The bus departs via Mechanic St. in Southbridge, turns right on Main St., right onto Central St., and departs Southbridge via Worcester St. (Rt 169), enters Charlton, turns right on Route 20, and then right on Masonic Home Rd., left onto North Main St., and then right on Route 20. The bus enters Auburn, turns left on Southbridge Street, left into the Auburn Mall, right onto Southbridge St., straight onto McGrath Blvd., then Foster St. to end at Union Station.
For more information, visit www.therta.com.

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