18: Taunton / Norton / Attleboro

April 10, 2022

GATRA operates most of its local fixed routes around Attleboro and Taunton. So, it must have a good route connecting those two hubs, right? Nope, instead we get the 18, a disgrace to transit planning. I usually react to some of the decisions made by the WRTA with "what the fuck", but the 18 is more like "WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK GATRA". That's how bad it is.

This route connects the Attleboro Transit Center with the Taunton Transit Center. Many other GATRA routes go out from these transit centers. The Commuter Rail serves Attleboro as well. I noted in A Greater GATRA that the 18 was a key route for GATRA, but they don't care at all.

The routing is the best part of this route, but it's not perfect. The route follows Route 140 and Route 123 throughout Taunton, Norton, and Attleboro. The route has an inbound-only deviation to a hospital as well. Why would you do an inbound-only deviation? It's not like it's a fucking shopping plaza, it's a goddamn hospital! This is also the only route to serve Wheaton College in Norton, a small liberal arts school with about 1,700 students.

The scheduling is where there is a massive problem. This route runs whenever the fuck it wants to. Weekdays, it runs anywhere between every 20 minutes and every 90 minutes. There are also three more eastbound trips than westbound trips. Eastbound, better frequencies are seen in the afternoon, while better frequencies are seen in the mornings westbound. The route does run 11 trips westbound and 14 trips eastbound, so I'm not going to give you every departure time in this post, so here's the current schedule as of April 2022. Service hours along the 18 are also really good, between 5 am and 8 pm on weekdays. Now that doesn't include the fact that eastbound service starts at 6:40 am and westbound service ends at 5 pm.

Weekends aren't any better. They're actually worse! For starters, this route doesn't run on Sundays. The Saturday schedule is terrible. Five trips westbound, six trips eastbound. It feels like a RIPTA express bus with how they schedule this. Westbound, you get four morning trips between 7:45 and 10:30 am, along with a 3:00 pm trip. Eastbound, you get one morning trip at 8:20, and five afternoon trips between 3:30 and 6:00.

Final thoughts? This route has some serious potential. Given that this is the route that connects GATRA's two main hubs, this should seriously have a more predictable schedule. Even out the frequencies, and definitely add more weekend service. This is the one "frequent" connection that Taunton has to the rest of the state's transit, through Attleboro's Commuter Rail connection.