B, But Better

March 3, 2022

To any reader familiar with me, Ben, the writer of this blog, you know I like ranting about bus routes, especially the WRTA's B. I actually ranted about it on this blog last September. Why do I rant about it a lot? I live along it. (Boom, Ben has doxxed themselves.) It has a terrible schedule and doesn't run on weekends. Enough said for now, read my rant for more.

So what did I do? I redesigned it. Well, expanded the schedule a bit. I didn't spend nearly as much time on this as I did with Rhode Island Intrastate Rail last August. Inspiration and motivation for this came from Caleb, who runs the Classy Whale YouTube channel, and also put together a plan for a new bus route between Lancaster and Quarryville, Pennsylvania (an area he's much more familar with). (Caleb, if you're reading this, can I share your plan here?)

A copy of the B's current schedule can be found on the WRTA's website here.

My plan (and in my own opinion, the only things needed to make this a great route) is to expand the current hourly service to the Grafton train station all day long, as well as add weekend service. For two towns with a combined population of about 35,000, I find that the transit service is lacking. The towns don't have much of a pedestrian-friendly sidewalk network either, and most residents and visitors rely on cars to travel locally.

Currently, the route only serves the train station very early in the morning, and has evening express service to C Street in Northbridge, bypassing most of the route's stops. I chose to bring the bus to the train station all day, as the train station is served with one train every hour in each direction.

Two additional scheduled stops are added, one at Providence Rd and School St in Northbridge, and one at North Main St and Ray St in North Grafton. Both of these stops are in denser areas along the route. The one in Northbridge is at a place where the bus can be flagged down all day though.

An extra trip was added at the end of the night to allow for passengers on later trains to connect to the bus. All trips on the route are timed to connect with trains to both Worcester and Boston. No additional service is provided before the current starting time, as 5:20 am is early enough for these suburban communities.

A first for this route added here is weekend service. Currently, the route only runs Monday through Friday, but the destinations in Northbridge and Grafton are also popular on weekends. Buses continue to run every hour to North Main St and Ray St, but the train station is served every two hours due to Worcester Line trains only running every two hours.

Want more? A copy of my proposed schedule is available here.