Coming this fall to Wellesley: A bus downtown.
The Metrowest Regional Transit Authority (MWRTA) is bringing route 8 from the Natick Community Center to the Woodland T station. However, where that bus goes though Wellesley depends a little on you.
To find out more about the buses making their way to and through Wellesley, Patch recently sat down with MWRTA Marketing and Communications Director Sara White, MWRTA Brand Management/Outreach Coordinator Carl Damigella, and Wellesley Planning Director Meghan Jop.
The route is expected to leave Natick and go along 135, then take Route 16 to Woodland Street. However, Jop says the route is not finalized, and said possible additions could include a Weston Road corridor loop, and other changes in the morning or evening.
While the bus will have certain pre-determined stops along its fixed-route, Damigella explained the MWRTA buses use flag-down system. Similar to hailing a taxi, the bus will stop when flagged down while driving along its route.
MWRTA is turning to Wellesley residents to figure out where the bus should stop. They will take feedback on the route both at upcoming hearings on September 10 and 12, and through an online survey on their website. People who take the survey will be entered in a drawing for a pre-loaded $25 CharlieCard.
To provide feedback to the MWRTA, fill out the survey on their website.
Wellesley joined the MWRTA in Sept. 2011, a move which officials said would give the town options. Earlier this year, the MWRTA won a $400,000 grant from the Mass. Department of Transportation, and announced it would be used to bring a fixed-route bus service to Wellesley.
"The MWRTA applied for grant money, and got a $400,000 grant to do this as a pilot for two years." Job explained, "This is no cost to the Wellesley taxpayer."
No firm start date has been announced, but the town and MWRTA aim to launch in October.
Route DetailsRoute 8 is expected to run Monday to Friday, from between 6 and 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The bus will cost $1.50 per ride, although riders using their CharlieCard--the same one used on the MBTA's buses and metro trains--get a discounted ride at $1.10. CharlieCard owners can load them on the MBTA website, or on the buses, which Damigella tells Patch have the same fare console as buses used on the MBTA.
The fare includes one transfer to another MWRTA bus in the same direction. Which means the MWRTA can take riders from Wellesley to the Natick Mall for one swipe of their CharlieCard.
"Route 8, in addition to hospital stops in Natick, Framingham and Marlborough, adds Newton-Wellesley Hospital," Damigella noted.
Riders can also follow each bus through the MWRTA's GeoLabs tracking system. The system provides real-time locations for each of the transit system's GPS-equipped buses, as well as speed and heading information. With the map tool, MWRTA customers can find out exactly where their bus is in relation to their bus stop.
For bike commuters, each bus is equipped with a two-bike rack on the nose, which folds up when not in use. If the rack is full, however, bikers will have to leave their wheels behind.
The two hearings about the bus route are scheduled for Sept. 10, at 7 p.m. at the Wellesley Public Library , and at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 12 in the Great Hall at Town Hall.
[Editor's Note: A previous version of the article switched the locations of the upcoming hearings. This has been corrected. 9:45 a.m.]