23: Union Station - East Mountain St via Lincoln St

May 29, 2022

The WRTA has four routes that serve the Lincoln Plaza, those being the 16, the 23, the 26, and the 31. The 16, 23, and 31 all have separate ways to get there (the 26 is something else, find out when I write about it). The 23's routing is the most direct of these three.

The 23 starts at Union Station and goes north through downtown Worcester and onto Lincoln Street / Route 70. Lincoln Street goes all the way from downtown to the Lincoln Mall and onwards towards Shrewsbury. The 23 stays on Lincoln Street only until the Lincoln Plaza, where the route turns north again. The route goes down Country Club Blvd (not running through a country club or other golf course), serving a large housing development before turning onto Saint Nicholas Ave. Saint Nicholas Ave is a very suburban road. It's one of those roads that feels like it should be in a suburb a dozen miles away from downtown that doesn't see bus service. But here it is, right in Worcester a few miles from downtown and very close to a large strip mall. The route is with the 31 briefly on East Mountain Street to reach its terminus at the Fairway Apartments (just adjacent to the Worcester Country Club). Inbound trips have a split beginning between the Fairway Apartments and the Century Drive business park nearby. I can't tell with outbound trips as the two places are really close by and there are no notes whatsoever. So outbound trips might end at Fairway Apartments, but might also end at Century Drive, which one WRTA?

The schedule reminds me of the 3, in which the 23's frequencies are every half hour from 5:30 am to 2:30 pm, and then its every 30 - 45 minutes in the afternoon until 7:20 pm. These afternoon frequencies all of over the place, but it gets weirder. The last inbound trip leaves at 7:50 pm, while there are two more outbound trips short-turning at the Lincoln Plaza leaving Union Station at 8:25 pm and 8:50 pm. The schedule also mentions additional outbound trips at 9:20 and 10:20 pm, but who knows where those go.

Inbound, the split termini see departures every hour in the morning and early afternoon, and then every 60 - 75 minutes until the final trips at 7:20 from Fairway Apartments, and 7:50 from Century Drive.

At least the 23 gets weekend service, with Saturdays seeing departures every 50 - 55 minutes from 7 am to 9 pm and Sundays being every hour from 11:30 am to 6:30 pm. Sounds like typical WRTA weekend hours (that is, if it's on a route with weekend service).

The 23 does have interlining with both the 7 (Saturdays) and the 19 (Sundays). I've already covered both those routes in more detail on this blog, so go check those posts out.

Final thoughts - It's better than the 16 or the 31 as a way to get to the Lincoln Plaza from downtown. Like the 3, frequencies should be evened out all day long. I think both Century Drive and Fairway Apartments should be together on all (or most) trips, as it doesn't really make sense to cut off the apartments on half the inbound trips. If extended to Worcester Country Club, the 23 would be the most direct route there (the 31 currently stops closer to the entrance).

Posted: May 31, 2022 20:11