Tuesday, November 7, 2017

PVTA: R10S (Westfield Center/Westfield State University)

When I reviewed the R10 over the summer, it was on its school vacation routing, where it runs all the way to Westfield State University. During the school year, however, the R10 terminates at Westfield Center and they run a shuttle route, the R10S, from there to the university. I wonder what it's like!

Okay, that destination sign is distinctly blue!
The first thing to mention about the route is that it's free! That definitely gives it some points from the cheap side of me! So, we left the Olver Transit Pavilion and headed into the Park Square rotary. Surely we would get to go directly to the univer- oh, we're deviating into Stop & Shop? We're really gonna do this? Alrighty, then...

Hi, parking lot.
After that whole kerfuffle, we returned to Park Square and actually made it onto Court Street, heading out toward the university. It was mostly houses, with a few breaks for Westfield City Hall, Baystate Noble Hospital, a cemetery, and an elementary school. The street eventually became Western Ave, and after a bunch more houses, we pulled into Scanlon Hall of Westfield State University. That was a quick one!

The bus's rear end.
PVTA Route: R10S (Westfield Center/Westfield State University)

Ridership: I haven't got any online ridership statistics for this one, but from my experience, the route gets very low ridership. Maybe it's different at certain times of the day, but I never saw more than three people on this thing.

Pros: It's free! Also, it provides half hourly service from Westfield State to downtown Westfield. And...Stop & Shop. Sigh...

Cons: Does the route really need to serve Stop & Shop? I mean, we're talking about college students here - I think they should be able to perform the 5-minute walk from Olver to the supermarket. Plus, if that deviation was eliminated, the route could easily run every 20 minutes instead of every 30, which is a much better frequency for a college shuttle (even though this seems to get low ridership anyway). Also, the time required for the Stop & Shop deviation means that the R10S can't coordinate with the inbound R10. Oh, that's just great, isn't it?

Nearby and Noteworthy: This route exists solely to get people to Westfield State, so I guess that's about it.

Final Verdict: 4/10
This route has a lot of potential to be a really convenient free shuttle for college students. However, it doesn't run all that frequently, it doesn't connect with the inbound R10, and it has to make that stupid Stop & Shop deviation. I have a solution, though, and it assumes that the Stop & Shop deviation is required for some political reason - you see, it turns out that the route really doesn't have a half hour cycle time, it's just some good ol' fashioned PVTA padding. The route can complete its trip in about 16 minutes, 18 if you include Stop & Shop, meaning that it could still be effectively run every 20 minutes. That would allow for coordination with the R10 in both directions, too! Here, I made up a schedule:



Okay, the header got a bit messed up for some reason, but you get the idea. I figured that the trips that don't connect with the R10 could still serve Stop & Shop, since the ones that do connect need to be right on time. That being said, this whole 20-minute thing would work way better without the Stop & Shop deviation at all, and if it could be eliminated, that would make this schedule optimal.

Latest MBTA News: Service Updates

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