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MWRTA to host forums, surveys to get feedback on new Wellesley bus

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  September 9, 2013 02:20 PM

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Wellesley and local transportation officials are trying to get public feedback on the new Route 8 shuttle bus that will run from Natick through Wellesley to the MBTA Green Line by holding two public forums this week and distributing an online survey.

Officials say the bus is slated to start rolling sometime in October.

The bus route is projected to begin at Natick's community-senior center on East Central Street, and ride through Wellesley from Rte. 135 to Rte. 16, ending at the Green Line's Woodland Station in Newton.

The shuttle is expected to run about once every hour from 6:30 a.m. through 7:30 p.m., and will cost $1.50 for an adult fare -- though that price drops to $1.10 if riders use an MBTA Charlie Card. The fare would also be cut in half for seniors, said MWRTA administrator Ed Carr.

However, specifics on the shuttle's operation will not be set in stone until officials gather public feedback from the forums and a MWRTA survey recently posted online. The survey will remain up through Sept. 15, and those who provide information will be entered to win a $25 Charlie Card.

The two forums will take place Tuesday, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. in the Wakelin Room of the Wellesley Free Library, and on Thursday, Sept. 12 at 8:30 a.m. in the Great Hall of Wellesley Town Hall.

The bus is being introduced by way of a competitive $400,000 federal reverse-commute grant administered through the state's transportation department, Carr said.

"When we put the Rte. 1 [shuttle from Natick to the Green Line] together, we were aiming to bring the Metrowest to the Woodland stop on the Green Line -- but we found that most riders are coming from the Green Line to the Metrowest," Carr said. "Given the density in Wellesley and the need for jobs access, I think a lot of the same thing will happen with this new route."

Carr said the local higher education schools - Wellesley College, Babson College, and Olin College - have also "all expressed the need for a connection to the Green Line."

Though there are three commuter rail stations in town -- Wellesley Square, Wellesley Hills, and Wellesley Farms -- Carr said the Green Line proves quicker with more frequent access to Boston and surrounding communities, and gives a cheaper, easier option to locals.

"If you were to miss the 4:30 commuter train, you're there waiting for another hour, but the Green Line comes something like every 7 minutes," Carr said. "And it's less expensive -- what you pay for the Green Line and our service combined is less than what you pay on the commuter rail."

Currently, a one-way ride on the Green Line costs $2.50, or $2 for Charlie Card users. A one-way ride from Wellesley into Boston on the commuter rail costs just under $10, according to the T's website.

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Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com

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