|Sitting at the back made for some really fun pictures.|
|That's a tall building...|
|The businesses on Main Street.|
|The bus back in the hub.|
Ridership: On my trip, there were only two other people. One was a woman who went from downtown to the Central Hub, while the other was a talkative old man who loudly discussed how places used to look "before any of these new buildings were even here!" He only went for a few stops. WRTA doesn't publish ridership statistics, unfortunately, but a quick conversation with the driver revealed that the 80 gets good ridership in the morning, but not so much in the afternoon. I'm not sure why that would be, but a driver of the route is a trustworthy source, so I believe it!
Pros: This is a really great little loop! It serves most of Worcester's "downtown" area, and though it only runs on weekdays, it's every 15 minutes since the loop is so short. Oh, and did I mention it's free? There's really only one problem with the route...
Cons: IT DOESN'T EXIST. When I say that, I mean that it gets NO MENTION AT ALL on the WRTA website! And gee, it turns out the shuttle was added three years ago to boost downtown businesses when the WRTA's hub moved to its current location! But this news story says that "only a handful of riders" uses it - wonder how that could be fixed. It's a simple webpage, guys, it's not that hard! Geez, at least the SLOOP got an online schedule! The 80 has literally nothing! You know the schedule information I wrote in the "pros" section? I had to find that out from the driver. This is NOT how you run a bus service!
Nearby and Noteworthy: The 80 serves basically all of downtown Worcester! And sure, none of it is a particularly long walk from the Central Hub, but the bus is free! If you're tired or have heavy bags (or just want to take a ride in an electric bus), you might as well give it a try!
Final Verdict: 5/10 (but the route is a 9)
The 80 is basically in the same boat as the SLOOP, except that this ship has already hit the iceberg. It seems like the shuttle gets decent ridership now (according to the driver, at least), but that's no excuse for not publishing a schedule! And yes, at some point there could be advertising for the fact that Worcester has a free shuttle, marketing to out-of-towners or non-commuters, but an online schedule - heck, an online mention - is needed as soon as possible. This is a really great route, but gosh, guys, give it some dignity!
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