24: Union Station - UMass Medical via Belmont St

June 4, 2022

Like Lincoln Plaza (with the 16, 23, 26, and 31) and Webster Square (with the 19, 25, 27, and 33), UMass Medical Center has multiple routes to get there. I've already looked at both the 15 and the 16, so the final way to get there is with the 24.

The 24 mainly runs along Belmont St, one of the major roads connecting downtown to the east side of Worcester and Shrewsbury. The road is also known as Route 9, after the state road that runs along it across the city. The route goes north out of Union Station along Main Street to reach Belmont Street, where it turns east. From here, it's a straight shot to UMass Medical Center, with no deviations along the way. UMass Medical Center has two separate campuses, both served by the 24. The main one in near Lake Quinsigamond, and served by the 15 and the 16. This is also home to the medical school part of the UMass system. The other campus is just a hospital located closer to downtown and Interstate 290.

However, the 24 is the only route on the WRTA to have a separately numbered variant, the 24A. A large chunk of 24 trips are actually 24A trips. The only difference between the 24 and 24A is the additional deviations to apartment complexes located near Belmont St. Both complexes see service reminding me of the West House deviation on RIPTA's 63. Service to Seabury Heights is only provided on outbound trips, while service to Greenhill Towers is only provided on inbound trips. Both of these places are a considerable distance away from each other, so it's not like one can quickly walk between the two.

Scheduling is like most other WRTA routes along major corrirdors. The 24 sees service between 6 am and 8:30 pm on weekdays (24A between 7:30 am and 5:30 pm) with about 40 minute headways. There are some extra trips thrown in there which make trips every 20 or 30 minutes at times. Saturday service operates between 7 am and 9 pm with 60, sometimes 70, minute headways. Most Saturday trips are 24A trips, with the exception of 4 outbound trips and 2 inbound trips. 24A service runs between 8 am and 6 pm outbound and 8:30 am and 8:30 pm inbound. Sunday service also exists on the line, with all trips operating as 24A trips between 10 am and 7 pm, with 55 - 60 minute headways and a 2 hour gap between the last two trips. There is one odd outbound Sunday trip that starts at the Greenhill Towers though.

Final thoughts - The WRTA really does not need to distinguish between the 24 and 24A here. It's not really advertised on the schedule and is relegated to a footnote. There's not many trips that skip the deviations either, especially on weekends. Like other WRTA routes, frequencies could use a boost.

Posted: Jun 7, 2022 21:24


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