[Odds and Ends] Worcester Regional Transit

13 Feb

I recently took my first unaccompanied ride on a city bus (I’m pretty old at this point, it’s not like a need a guardian, Rivers). Still, I had always been with wise compatriots who knew the routes, whether in New York or Boston or any number cities in France. I needed to do research for my honors thesis at the public library and given the hardscrabble stretch that lies between my apartment and the library, I figured I was better off not walking, especially after dark.

You may think it sad that it is only in the final semester of my four years at Clark that I am finally flying solo on the city buses. And you would, of course, be completely right. The first few years I spent at Clark I was pretty content to not go explore the wider world far beyond campus, with the exception of that hill over at Elm Park which is my favorite spot in the whole city. Living in Worcester last summer was a great experience, and the extra daylight gave me more time to get a better flavor of the city on foot. By and large, Worcester is delightfully sketchy apart from the happy shiny bubble of the university. Various attempts have been made at classing up blocks of desolation with the odd renovated structure that ends up creating a sort of combover effect–it doesn’t make you look like a guy with more hair, it just makes you look like a guy with a combover. The problems of this over-the-hill city run too deep to be fixed by a few spruced-up buildings poking up from a sea of decay.

History lesson that ties in with my honors thesis (I will probably find a way to sneak this in, especially if the Worcester Regional Transit Authority was established in part with Federal dollars): The WRTA was founded in 1974, much to the benefit of those in the city who could not afford their own vehicle. Providing improved mobility for those of lesser means was a fairly egalitarian move that at least in theory allowed for wider job opportunities for these folks. Back around 1900 Worcester had a thriving trolley system, but that had long since been abandoned by mid-century.

My experience avec les buses: Half hour wait to hop on a bus downtown. Apparently by mid-afternoon the route schedule is pretty much shot to hell, which I suppose shouldn’t have surprised me, but I was just a bit irked. It was a nice enough day, but it’s February so that’s all relative. I don’t deal well with waiting for long periods for stuff (I eschew lines), so this was difficult, even if I was texting people most of the time. After three hours of feverish research at the public library, I only had a ten minute wait to hop on a bus back to campus. Total cost three dollars. Pretty reasonable, especially compared to the cost of a cab or getting jumped. Seating was surprisingly ample and the cabin was well-heated, which was really all I could have asked for.

I can tell this is the start of what will be a long and dysfunctional relationship.

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