New Wellesley township bus route set to start this month

Staff Writer

Beginning in mid-October, Route 8, a new fixed public bus route, will run through Wellesley, giving students a chance to travel to Natick and the Green Line without relying on the Peter Pan bus.

The bus loop will begin at Natick’s Community-Senior Center and continue on through the town of Wellesley via Rte. 135 and Rte. 16, passing through Central Street, on which the College is located, as well as Washington Street. Details about the location of the bus stops are still being discussed.

It is unclear whether there will be a direct stop on the College’s campus. However, Wellesley students will be able to flag down the bus as it drives past the College.

The final stop will be the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Woodland Station in Newton, located on the Green Line.

“It is a natural fit that will be added to a pre-existing system,” MetroWest Regional Transit Authority (MWRTA) Marketing and Communications Director Sara White said. “It will give Wellesley town residents like local seniors, commuters going to and from Boston and Wellesley High School as well as college students another transportation option.”

The town of Wellesley, in conjunction with MWRTA, was awarded $400,000 by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and funded by the Federal Transit Administration’s Job Access Reverse Commute program to create the new bus route.

Funding will last for two years, after which the town may seek backing from MWRTA to continue the bus service. If funding runs out within two years, MWRTA will provide any cost exceeding the grant appropriation through alternate transit funding sources.

For now, only one vehicle will be driving on the route. Another vehicle will be added if the budget permits and if the service proves successful.

The van-sized bus will fit 16 passengers and will run Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. The frequency of the bus has not yet been determined.

Drivers will accept CharlieCards or cash as valid bus fare. The adult cash fare is $1.50, but this cost is discounted to $1.10 with a CharlieCard. The vehicle can also accommodate bike riders and disabled passengers.

Wellesley town residents have played an integral role in planning the final bus route.  MWRTA recently posted a survey open to all town residents, including Wellesley students, on its website along with a proposed route.
Town residents also held two Town Hall hearings, one on Sept. 10 and the other on Sept. 11, to gather input on the new route. At the meeting, residents suggested that the bus run on weekends. These modifications to the schedule will be made depending on the budget.

Even though the bus runs along Central Street, it will have no direct effect on  transportation provided by Wellesley College. The Senate and Exchange buses will run normally. Many students are looking forward to an alternate means of transportation.

“I am excited for the new Route 8 bus. I think it will be really useful for getting into the town of Wellesley, especially during the cold winter,” Adjoa Kudoadzi ’16 said. “I think the Route 8 bus will also be useful for getting to parts of the town that are not within walking distance.”

Oana Diaconescu ’15 noted that the new service may be especially convenient for Wellesley students during the summer, when transportation is limited.

“I’m really excited about the new Route 8 bus,” Diaconescu said. “Over the summers I spend a lot of money taking the Commuter Rail. I plan to use the Route 8 bus over the summer to connect me to the T, since it will cost less.”

Still, other students remain unaffected by the new public transportation option.

“It is fantastic that Route 8 offers transportation from Wellesley into the city, but if that does not work out we always have the Peter Pan buses,” Transportation Advisory Committee Representative Cathy Ye ’14 said.

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