A two-year effort to improve public transportation in Scituate took a giant step forward on Tuesday with selectmen’s approval of bringing a bus system into town.
The Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority (GATRA) bus service is already used by many South Shore towns, including Duxbury, Marshfield, Kingston, and Plymouth. With the selectmen’s go ahead, Scituate too will be on board.
“It’s a good program we’ve been working on for awhile, and will help expand travel not only for seniors but for people in town – whether it's historical sites, commercial areas, the train,” said Selectmen chair Anthony Vegnani.
Scituate’s Council on Aging has been working to bring this system into town for some time. After being unable to bring the MBTA’s "The Ride" to Scituate, Florence Choate with the Council on Aging turned her attention to GATRA.
The service would cost approximately $1 for senior riders, and $2 for regular riders.
Scitaute officials were eager to sign on after learning that the service wouldn’t cost the town anything extra. According to Vegnani, all communities already pay an MBTA usage fee to the state on an annual basis.
“What the state allows you to do is allocate those funds for alternative uses, and that’s what GATRA would be. We would transfer those funds. Instead of going to the MBTA it would be going to use for public transportation,” he said.
Because GATRA is a federally subsidized company, the payment alteration is possible. As such, the town will allocate the $113,000 from the MBTA to GATRA for the services.
GATRA still must vote to accept Scituate as part of its servicing region. Once that occurs, the town will sit down with GATRA officials to discuss the potential routes and other logistics. Initially, the routes are likely to be within town, but service could be expanded to neighboring towns if there a demand for it.
All GATRA vans would be handicap accessible. For more information, click here.