12: Union Station - Southwest Commons via Grafton St

May 31, 2022

Since the latest map update in 2017, the WRTA has added more than just the 8. The 12 is a second route along Grafton Street (along with the 5), serving the southeastern side of Worcester. The 12 replaces the old 5, with the current 5 taking a slightly different route than it previously did (see the 5's post when I write it).

The southeastern side of Worcester has a lack of transit access. I took a look through the WRTA's service changes, and the 12 was introduced in January 2020 and runs along Grafton Street for the vast majority of the route. Grafton Street is one of the main roads through the southeastern part of Worcester, and is deserving of a bus route. There is a short deviation into the South Plaza, a strip mall (this is the WRTA we're talking about here), before continuing further down to Sunderland Road, where the route turns and ends at the Southwest Commons. Oddly enough, this is at the southeastern corner of the city. There is another plaza on the southwestern end served by the 11.

Scheduling, not great compared to the really good routes to Lincoln Plaza I just looked at over the past few days. The 12 is weekdays only, and for a route that serves not one, but two shopping plazas, at least give us some weekend service. The route runs with 50 minute headways between 8:30 am and 3:50 pm outbound and 8:55 am and 4:20 pm inbound. There's also a weird 80 minute gap midday, where a trip goes to serve North High School is sandwiched into that 80 minute gap. Is that really necessary? North High School is right off the 16, and the 12 goes back towards Union Station after serving North High, not even serving places that the 16 doesn't.

Final thoughts - meh. This route, along with other routes around the WRTA, could use weekend service and expanded hours on weekdays. The North High trip looks absolutely pointless, as the school is closer to the 16, which has no frequency issues at all (actually more frequent than the 12). Better hope the 5 is better (when I get around to it).

Posted: Jun 1, 2022 00:21