Medway T Shuttle

April 12, 2022

It's nice that GATRA operates a commuter shuttle at a reasonable time to the Commuter Rail. And because it's GATRA, they just had to do something annoying with it.

The Medway T Shuttle, as shown by its name, is a shuttle from the town of Medway to the Commuter Rail station in Norfolk. As a route, this isn't bad at all, but it becomes bad when you consider the rest of the GATRA network.

It's a commuter shuttle, so one would expect that this runs in the peak direction only at peak hours, which is what it does. Obviously, the route only runs on weekdays. The two morning trips leave Medway Middle School, which is right in the center of town, at 5:55 and 6:55 am, arriving at the Norfolk train station 13 minutes later. The return trips depart the train station at 5:32 and 6:32 pm, arriving in Medway 14 minutes later. There is an intermediate stop, but it's at the post office in Medway located 2 minutes away from the middle school. Nice that's it's there, though.

With the three stops along the route, the route does travel along a straight forward routing. But because it's going to the Norfolk train station, there should really be a deviation or rerouting to serve more of Millis along the way. You wouldn't be sacrificing any major areas if the route was rerouted through Millis. It would provide transit service to Millis and would give some reasoning behind using the Norfolk train station.

That's right, it's a little odd that the Norfolk train station is used. It would make more sense to change the route to serve Franklin station instead, as it is 1 mile closer to the starting point in Medway. The reasoning behind this is likely due to the fact that Norfolk is in Zone 5, while Franklin is in Zone 6, shortening the time for commuters on the train to Boston, while also giving riders a lower Commuter Rail fare. Franklin station used to be served by the Franklin Area Bus, operated by GATRA, which was replaced with GATRA GO service.

In the context of the entire GATRA network, it would make more sense for the shuttle to serve Franklin. As I mentioned in A Greater GATRA, this route could go through Franklin to connect with the rest of GATRA's network in Attleboro. This would provide a fixed route replacement for the Franklin Area Bus, better connect the GATRA network, but riders using GATRA to commute to Boston will have a slightly longer trip via Franklin station instead of Norfolk. The extension to Millis could still be done, but the route would likely go Millis - Medway - Franklin - Wrentham - Planville - Attleboro. It's a bit long, but could work considering the size of GATRA's region.

Final thoughts - The Medway T Shuttle in its current form is good as a standalone route, and serves it function fairly well. Since GATRA's network is very spread out, the route could be slightly altered to better connect Medway and Franklin with the rest of the GATRA network.