B79: Amherst - Worcester Intercity

August 20, 2022

The PVTA operates to Worcester? Yes, yes it does. The B79 is a unique link across Massachusetts, connecting both Worcester and the greater Springfield area through UMass Amherst. This is also a newer bus route, which started operation last year. It's only $9 from one end to the other as well.

The route takes a very local routing between the two cities. Starting at UMass Amherst (where connections are available to other PVTA routes), the B79 follows State Route 9 all the way through the towns in between. Good thing is, this allows the bus to stop in all the towns along the way. The B79 has stops in Belchertown, Ware, West Brookfield, Brookfield, East Brookfield, Spencer, and Leicester (latter 3 are drop-off only, likely due to arrangements with the WRTA 33) before reaching Worcester. In Worcester, the bus stops along the south side of Union Station, closest to the parking garage entrance. This isn't the long-distance bus terminal, nor is it the WRTA hub, but it's close by both of those.

Scheduling for this route is ... uhh ... limited. The bus runs five days a week (no service on Tuesdays and Wednesdays) with three round-trips per day (two on Sundays), one in the morning, one in the mid-day, and one in the late afternoon (no morning trip on Sundays). All trips have a timed transfer to the MBTA Commuter Rail for continued trips to destinations east of Boston. It's about 20 minutes between train arrival and bus departure (and vice versa).

Final thoughts - Even with the limited schedule that this route has, this route is key for the state's transportation network. The $9 end to end fare is about half the price of a same-day Peter Pan ticket for the same journey (but express), and is about the same price as the once-per-day Lake Shore Limited. The PVTA has a whole fare chart for this route as well. With the WRTA being free through the end of 2022, it's cheaper to spend $6 between Amherst and Leicester and get the WRTA from there. While it's kind of odd that there isn't service on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, it's better than sacrificing weekend service. This route is the best the state has until East-West Rail becomes a thing in service.

Posted: Aug 20, 2022 23:06

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