Another one of GATRA's connector routes between two parts of its network is the Wareham-Plymouth Connection. Now I thought that the 18 from the last post was bad. It is, but the Wareham-Plymouth Connection is worse.
Where do I start with this one? The corridor served is good, but the routing itself is terrible. Wareham and Plymouth are minor GATRA hubs, Plymouth offers a connection to the MBTA Commuter Rail (once service resumes in 2022), and Wareham has connections to other routes of GATRA's going north and west. Wareham is also near the CCRTA (with a connection via GATRA's Link 2).
I have three issues with the routing. First, the route takes a 5.4 mile deivation in Wareham to serve a 7-Eleven. 2.7 miles each way. For a 7-Eleven. Edit - I've been made aware of the fact that this also serves White Island Shores. Second, the route avoids Wareham Village, which has a CapeFlyer connection on summer weekends, providing rail service to Boston and Hyannis (as well as places in between). This route actually ends in Onset, another village in Wareham east of Wareham Village. I'll give you a pass here, as both the Wareham-New Bedford Connection and Link 1 serve Wareham Village. The Wareham-Plymouth Connection opts to use the highway for a few miles instead. The fact with the highway is actually confusing. The online schedule (which is actually a scanned paper schedule from August 2020), shows the route going along Route 28 the entire way. The online interactive map shows the route using the highway (Route 25 and I-495). Which one is it GATRA? Third, the route ends at some shopping mall (Colony Place) a bit west of downtown Plymouth.
The schedule is worse than the routing, and far worse than the 18. This runs one trip per day in each direction. It leaves Wareham at 7:20 am, and leaves Plymouth at 3:00 pm, taking an hour and 10 minutes in each direction to travel the entire route. Who is this route meant for? It seems to operate like a commuter bus, but definietly does not time well with a 9 to 5 office schedule. Nobody is going shopping in Plymouth at 8:30 am. This route's function will remain a mystery to me, but it's nice that it exists. Edit - I've been made aware that this serves as a school bus, that actually makes sense considering the hours.
Final thoughts? It's nice to have, but currently operates at the bare minimum. This route is the sole connection between both parts of GATRA East (the Wareham and Plymouth area routes), and should probably see something better than once a day in each direction. Routing wise, please extend this route to downtown Plymouth for a better connection with other Plymouth area routes.
Ok, hold on. Final thoughts, not yet. As I finish up writing this post, I ended up on the GATRA website, and found proposed service changes. There's actually a proposed routing change to the route, with the Onset and 7-Eleven portions planned to be eliminated at some point. If GATRA moves forward with these plans (comments closed January 3, 2022), the route will terminate at Wareham Village station. A different route travelling around Wareham will continue to serve Onset and the 7-Eleven.
New final thoughts - GATRA, please implement these service changes at some point soon. These changes are actually good for the route and cleans it up quite a bit. There is no need for a longer-distance route to have a 5 mile deviation to a 7-Eleven.