• Lowell (MA) Regional Transit Authority

  • General discussion of passenger rail systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.
General discussion of passenger rail systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

Moderators: mtuandrew, gprimr1

  by San Diego Transit
Please advise if this is not the proper place for this post:

I am extremely disturbed at the Lowell Regional Transit Authority's new operating plan, to begin on August 1. For starters, they have replaced the old bus schedules that operated on somewhat of a regular 30 minute or 60 minute headway on all lines throughout the day to a schedule that by all means does not adhere to industry standard, practice, or common sense. Secondly, for the past twenty plus years, or as far back as I can remember (I'm 26), the LRTA (and former operators) have sustained route numbers in a clockwise fashion around the system (for the most part). Routes to Pawtucketville and Westford Street, two of the system’s most heavily utilized have always been numbered 11 and 8 respectively. NOW, all of a sudden, they have been re-numbered with the rest of the system(with three exceptions) to randomly designated "free" numbers between 4 and 18. If you go to LRTA.com and compare current schedules and route numbers with proposed schedules and route numbers, you'll see exactly what I mean. I am utterly flabbergasted and dismayed at the actions and planning of the LRTA. The shear magnitude of confusion for the public regarding these changes (route number and schedule) is going to be off the scales. Something must be done.

One nice mentionable is some of the extensions that are already in place or those that will begin on the 1st such as the new transit center at Gallagher Terminal, service on the Billerica Route to North Billerica Station, New service between Chelmsford Center and Drum Hill, improved frequency on the Burlington Mall/Lahey Clinic Line, as well as other frequency improvements.

Last edited by San Diego Transit on Mon Jul 18, 2005 7:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

  by fm535
What does LRTA have to do with the MBTA ?

  by AznSumtinSumtin
This should go under General Discussion: Commuter and Transit

I think the LRTA should number all of its routes similar to a clock. For example the northern most route should be 1 and the route closest to its right should be 2, and so on. That way a person unfamilar to the system but knows which direction he should be going should know which routes goes in the direction of his destination.

  by Porter Sq
I'll post before this gets moved. I don't mid the re-numbering,but all one has too do is look at a map to find out where in the city there going. then find the corasponding bus route to take. I do have a gripe with the new schedules. I have to take the bus to get to the train station for school. It was ok before,but now I am only limited to the #4Shaw-Steven's because the #16Chelmsford St/CC has been reduced to nothing. I will be at the Station 30 mins before the train leaves on some days just to make it. Even worse is that I am going to have to wait 45 mins for bus on the way home. The trains get into Lowell at 54 past the hour. The next #4 doesn't leave until 40 past the hour(except during rush-hour) With the new bus hub they could be runing 30 min service on the #4 all day. That's my rant for the day.

New LRTA schedule link

  by RailBus63
I think you're being a little harsh on the folks at LRTA. From what I understand, the service changes evolved from a study of current ridership numbers and trends. If they are running more buses on the busier routes and reducing service on routes with few riders, then good for them. I'm in no position to say if LRTA did a good job or a bad job, but I applaud it for having the courage to change. Too many transit systems stick to the same old routes far too long. Shopping and entertainment in most cities have left the downtown areas, yet many transit operators still run their buses as if everybody wants to go downtown. To LRTA's credit, they are at least trying to do something positive.

As for the route number changes, I suspect there will be some initial confusion, but most riders will adapt quickly.

  by San Diego Transit
I'm disappointed with the overall job the LRTA has done with their new transit service, effective August 3, 2005. With the service changes, the LRTA has extended some routes to new destinations and increased service on other popular routes. Also, the hub of operations was moved from Downtown Lowell to the new Kennedy Bus Transit Center located at the Gallagher Intermodel Transportation Center.

Compared with the old service where buses generally departed every 30 or 60 minutes within 5 or 10 minutes of the rest, buses now arrive and depart at odd headways, not in a pulse or within 5 or 10 minutes of the rest, and do not in any way have coordination with MBTA commuter rail trains at their new terminal (or with MBTA bus route 350 in Burlington at the end of route 13.) Passengers are now forced to wait upwards of 45 minutes in some cases and others miss their connection by as little as 5 minutes. Passengers coming off the commuter rail train come down the stairs from the train platform walkway only to see their bus pulling out of the terminal.

Examples of a bad job are 1. At 6:33pm, a commuter rail train arrives from Boston, there are bus pullouts at 6:25pm, 6:30pm and 6:35pm on different routes... of which are the last trips for the day on those bus routes; 2. In Burlington, the MBTA route 350 connection used to be timed perfectly all day. Now, LRTA service arrives and departs from as little as 3 minutes to as much as 15 minutes before MBTA service arrives. 3. Bus service at North Billerica Station is terrific now that not one but two buses serve the station. The only problem is that neither bus has any such coordination with the commuter rail, or even each other.

Bus destination signs no longer have route numbers to assist passengers with their travels. This would be especially important now that routes extend to common stops and terminals in the suburbs. Route numbers would be of help on all buses in every direction (past practice was no route number on buses heading to downtown, just "DOWNTOWN LOWELL", new signs read only "KENNEDY CENTER" when traveling toward downtown.) What if someone wanting to go to Middlesex Street and was standing at Drum Hill Plaza, a stop where three buses travel by? One bus pulls up and all it says is KENNEDY CENTER. How is anyone supposed to know where the bus goes? What if all three buses happen to pull up at the same time… mass confusion?

And for no apparent reason the LRTA has decided to RENUMBER routes, routes that have had the same number since the 70's when the MBTA, or MTA back then, operated service. The LRTA system was once numbered in an easily identifiable clockwise fashion starting with route 1-Christian Hill to the north. Now, a route like 11-Pawtucketville, one of the busiest in the system, has been renumbered to 7-Pawtucketville. Numbers are the universal language of the world. To change something like a route number might seem unimportant, but it is an identity that people of different languages, elderly persons, and persons with mental handicaps associate their neighborhoods and frequent destinations with.

Someone sure had his or her politician hat on in place of his or her transit planner/scheduler hat for this project. What a shame.

  by AznSumtinSumtin
I would have to agree with you. The LRTA is starting to become more like the MBTA, possibly worse. At least in the MBTA last buses of the day dont leave until last subway trains of the day arrive.