August 1, 2008

Bus from Framingham to a T stop in Newton?

I've long thought that an express bus from Shoppers World in Framingham to downtown Boston would be a great thing -- similar to the Logan Express but heading downtown. Alas, it doesn't look like that's in the cards, but there is talk now of a bus that would link Framingham to the Woodland T station in Newton.

That's good news for people who live on the other side of Framingham from the commuter rail station, making public transit here somewhat impractical. From my house, for example, it's over 6 miles due south to the train station, which has infrequent service and takes about an hour to get to South Station. (All that time driving southward doesn't bring me any closer to Boston.) Why drive and park there, when just a few miles more heading east gets me to the Riverside station in Newton, where service is much more frequent.

For a bus service to be appealing, though, it's got to be reasonably quick. So, I was highly unimpressed to read that the  MetroWest Regional Transit Authority administrator estimated a bus trip from Framingham to Woodland would take around an hour, according to a MetroWest Daily News report. An hour from Framingham to Newton? Seriously? It's only 15 miles from the western edge of Framingham to Woodland, so you're talking an average speed of 15 miles an hour. And, a commuter to Boston would then need another 35 minutes+ to get to downtown Boston. Excluding waiting time, that's more than three hours of commuting time per day to go to a job that's less than 30 miles away. That's nuts.

Compare that with Logan Express, which goes from Framingham to Boston in 30-45 minutes. How many people with access to a car are going to choose a public transit option that takes more than an hour and a half each way into Boston?

1 comment:

  1. My reading of the article is that the entire ride would be an hour, and that the Flutie Pass stop would be somewhere in the middle of the route. So maybe Flutie Pass to Woodland would only take a half hour. Hard to tell from the article.

    I'd like to see a real buildup of a bus system. Perhaps spokes of special buses running into a central station, maybe in metrowest, where riders from, say, Acton, could quickly transfer to a bus which originated in, say, Worcester, and was heading to, say, Sharon. The key would be to make transfers quick, which means universal magnetic strip passes for no-stop boarding, and custom buses with more entry and exit doors than is usual (more like some old streetcar designs). Fanciful, I suppose, but easier to afford than what is looming for us now.