19: Union Station - Webster Square - Clark University

April 8, 2022

On today's episode of "what's wrong...", wait a minute. I've just run into a bus route that's actually really well planned by the WRTA. This is the 19, a route that runs from Union Station, down Main Street, and to the Airport Industrial Park, passing by Clark University and the Webster Square Plaza.

This schedule is just as good as the 30, with 30 minute or better headways between 5 am and 8:30 pm, and hourly headways continuing to 11 pm. Those headways make sense for the areas it serves though. Main Street in Worcester is where all the action in downtown Worcester is. Additional service on the 27 is also provided on Main Street. On weekdays, the 19 interlines with the 23, providing a one-seat ride to the northeast section of Worcester.

This route is way better on the weekends. Most WRTA routes I've looked at on this blog are worse on weekends, with lower frequencies or no service at all. With the 19, the WRTA extends it over a portion of the weekday-only 33, giving Leicester and Spencer weekend bus service.

On Saturdays, the route runs roughly every hour between 6:50 am and 9:45 pm outbound, and 6:40 am to 10:05 pm inbound. On Sundays, it's what I expected seeing the WRTA. Trips are every hour from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm outbound, and 11 am to 6 pm inbound. Saturday trips see the whole extended route to Spencer, but on Sundays, all trips terminate at the Leicester Walmart. However, there are a few early morning Saturday trips that short-turn in Leicester, and late night Saturday trips that short-turn at Webster Square Plaza.

The entire route takes 25 - 30 minutes on weekdays, 45 - 55 minutes for the full Saturday length, and 30 minutes for the full Sunday length.

Final thoughts on the 19 - It's very good. I don't really rate these routes, but this is a solid 7 or 8 out of 10. It has great service hours and frequencies (for the WRTA, at least) on all days but Sundays. Sunday service, as expected, is far less than the other days. Since the 33 doesn't run on weekends, the weekend extension of the 19 is very nice. Definitely shows that there is some demand for Leicester and Spencer to get weekend service, but not enough demand to run the 33 separately from the 19. Goes to show that less demand does not mean less trips, but instead shows that exisiting equipment can be used more efficiently instead.


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