Watertown Shuttle Could be Free for Residents, More Routes Requested

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Charlie Breitrose

An image of the proposed shuttle routes in Watertown.

An image of the proposed shuttle routes in Watertown.

Charlie Breitrose

An image of the proposed shuttle routes in Watertown.

More details about the planned Watertown shuttle were discussed, including free rides for residents, during Tuesday’s Transportation subcommittee meeting.
The shuttle is part of the town’s Transportation Management Association (TMA), and will be paid for largely by large companies and the big apartment complexes going up on Arsenal and Pleasant streets. Assistant Town Manager Steve Magoon said that his vision for the shuttle would allow Watertown residents to ride free.

“There has been some misconceptions since our last meeting that residents would have to pay to ride the shuttle,” Magoon said. “My expectation is that developers would pay the vast majority of the cost, but the town would also make a financial contribution. Employees of the companies would be able to ride free, and so would residents.”

Councilor Aaron Dushku missed the previous meeting where consultants from the 128 Business Council discussed the shuttle, which they say would go from Arsenal Street and likely also Pleasant Street to Harvard Square during the morning and evening commutes.

Dushku watched a tape of the meeting and said he had hoped to see more from the shuttle. He said he would like to see shuttle routes serving areas of town that have no or little transportation service.

“It would be great to have a shuttle from West Watertown – from Lexington Street west or Waverley Avenue west – to Waverley (Commuter Rail station) and Watertown Square,” Dushku said. “It would relieve a tremendous amount of traffic.”

A resident at the meeting noted that there is little parking at the Waverley Commuter Rail stop, and riders can get into downtown Boston in 20 minutes from there.

Magoon said that it is likely the shuttle will start with service along the commuter corridors of Arsenal and Pleasant streets, and add more routes later. However, he said there may be options to use other vehicles available in town to create more routes, such as the Senior Center’s shuttle and a similar vehicle owned by the Watertown Public Schools, Magoon said.

Councilor Tony Palomba wondered if the size of the shuttles could be increased. With 24 seats, he said, it does not seem like that many people would be getting out of their cars and riding the shuttle to work.

Senior Planner Gideon Schreiber said that the plan is to lease the buses so that they can be traded in for larger ones if needed.

More on the Watertown Shuttle:

Potential Shuttle Routes Revealed from Harvard Square to Watertown

2 thoughts on “Watertown Shuttle Could be Free for Residents, More Routes Requested

  1. Great idea. Hope it can be worked out with all parties. For one thing, alleviating single-occupant commuters would be a win-win-win.

  2. Still mass confusion from the Town Council and Asst Town Manager on this subject. This article almost completely contradicts the previous one regarding cost. Also, we still don’t know what the town contribution will be, yet the Town Council presses on.. I have an idea, if you really want to reduce traffic, provide bus free bus service to the students in town. Right now only 2 schools offer busing – Hosmer and Middle School (High School, Cuniff, and Lowell don’t offer buses). Our bus system only serves ~300 out of 2600 students and it costs those kids $300 each to ride. I’d like to see the Town Council spend more time solving the problems we have, instead of creating new ones.

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