41: Charlemont / Greenfield

July 22, 2022

I have mentioned before that there are about two dozen RTAs around Massachusetts, operating networks with varying degrees of sanity for their planning. As of the time I write this, I have wrote about every WRTA route, a handful of GATRA routes, a single PVTA route (these posts can be found on the "Categories" page linked above), and have plans to touch a couple more RTAs within the next month or so. One of those RTAs is the FRTA. The Franklin Regional Transit Authority is the small agency serving parts of Franklin County, mainly the towns surrounding Greenfield, in the northwestern part of Massachusetts. Now this is a rural part of Massachusetts, and I'm quite surprised that it has a decent-sized bus system... but it's time to take a deeper look.

The 41 (okay okay hold on - the FRTA operates 7 routes... and the lowest numbered route is 20) operates between Greenfield and the very small town of Charlemont... with a population of 1,185. To get all the way to Charlemont, the 41 also passes through the towns of Buckland (pop. 1,816) and Shelburne (pop. 1,884), and the village of Shelburne Falls, an old manuafacturing village located on the border of Buckland and Shelburne. The route follows Route 2, the main road connecting Greenfield and the small towns of western Franklin County and northern Berkshire County to upstate New York, and there's only one, limited service deviation along the route, which serves Mohawk High School during school arrival and dismissal, as well as another full-time deviation to Greenfield Community College. The route begins at the John Olver Transit Center in Greenfield and ends in the center of Charlemont, with timepoints located at Greenfield Community College and in Shelburne Falls.

The rough part of this route is with the scheduling. The route runs four round-trips per day, leaving Greenfield at 7 am, 11 am, 2:45 pm, and 5 pm, with trips to and from Charlemont scheduled to take 45 minutes, and a round-trip taking 90 minutes. At least the FRTA gave this route easy to remember times. The route runs weekdays only. Wait, the entire FRTA runs weekdays only. Yes, this is an RTA that operates weekdays only.

Final thoughts - Not bad, for where it serves. Four trips a day sounds kind of bad, but then you realize that less than 5,000 people live in the three other towns served, combined. At least it's not RIPTA, who would call this an express route and have all trips at peak hours only. Weekend service would be nice, but is probably more needed on other parts of the FRTA, and there might just not even be demand for weekend service at all. At least they do a good job at maintaining all-day service with this route, with mornings, midday, and late afternoon service covered.

Posted: Jul 22, 2022 21:18


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