|The Proposed AIRLINE BRT System for Worcester, MA|
AIRLINE (Orange) - AIRLINE East (Red) - AIRLINE North (Blue)
Ideally, the WRTA would revamp it's bus routes using more of a grid plan like those found in NYC and Philadelphia. A grid system is great for transit users as it gives them more than one option for getting to their destination (e.g., you can go up, then across, or across and then up, etc.) while with a hub and spoke system you are largely tied to the one spoke that runs to your destination. Practically speaking, Worcester's terrain and existing road infrastructure outside of the downtown core does not make a true grid system practical, so the best I think Worcester could do is a hybrid transit system with Union Station serving as the primary hub.
I've heard here and there that the WRTA is planning on moving its hub from City Hall to Union Station at some point, but I have not heard much about it lately. The AIRLINE BRT would serve as the backbone of this redesigned system, providing efficient, frequent service along Worcester's primary business corridors and connecting to ORH. The next step would be to lay out traditional bus routes that would serve the secondary business corridors and residential areas and cross over (like a grid) the BRT lines at secondary hubs (e.g., Lincoln Square, Webster Square, etc.) - the objective would be to get riders on the traditional bus routes to the BRT system as quickly as possible where they can then transfer to the BRT and get to their ultimate destination quickly. Alternatively, as the bus line would cross the BRT line, the rider would have the option to stay on the bus (or perhaps take the bus in the opposite direction) and take an alternate route to their destination. I'll layout a sample route next post to demonstrate what I am thinking here.