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Residents OK new bus routes.

Byline: Aaron Nicodemus

WORCESTER - It is never a good thing when the Worcester Regional Transit Authority is forced to cut back bus service. But the agency has apparently managed to address the concerns of residents of two housing complexes whose current bus route is being discontinued.

As of January, Route 8 is being scrapped in order to save approximately $100,000, said John Farley, assistant general manager for RTA Services Inc., the company that runs WRTA buses. The route currently runs between City Hall and UMass Memorial Medical Center along Belmont Street, serving the Seabury Heights and Green Hill Tower apartment complexes.

The loss of Route 8 originally meant that riders in Seabury Heights would lose bus service altogether and have to walk to Belmont Street to pick up a bus. Residents in the Green Hill Tower Apartments would have buses at their door every hour instead of every half hour.

At a meeting at WRTA headquarters yesterday, the agency's administrators announced that Seabury Heights would also be serviced along an existing bus route, Route 24.

Starting next month, a bus will pull into the Seabury Heights complex every hour, just like at Green Hill Tower Apartments. Riders will have to take the bus to the medical center and then ride it back to downtown, lengthening their trip by about 10 minutes over the current schedule.

"It's not the most convenient service, but it still provides that door-to-door service that you're used to," said RTA General Manager John F. Carney. "We heard you."

Paul Guries, a Seabury Heights resident who spoke on behalf of residents and presented the agency with a petition signed by 100 people, said the compromise was well-thought out.

"This answers many of the questions that the people at these complexes had," he said. "It's a very worthwhile and successful solution to the problem."

Other changes that are being made include changing service of the Hamilton and Grafton street areas, eliminating one bus route to the Auburn Mall, extending a route to serve the new Wal-Mart superstore on Route 146, and sending more buses to Salter College and Walmart in West Boylston.

The WRTA's advisory board is scheduled to vote on the proposed changes at 8:30 a.m. Thursday at its office at 287 Grove St.
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Dec 15, 2009
Words:380
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