Nearly a year ago, in June 2012, I visited Union Station in Worcester, Massachusetts, to see the progress the Worcester Regional Transit Authority had made rehabilitating the city's important transportation hub. I wrote in this blog that, "By building an outstanding transit center, they have sparked private investment and completely revitalized the surrounding neighborhoods."
Yesterday, the Union Station Bus Hub --the bus transfer facility that was under construction when I visited last June-- opened its doors, and it is indeed an outstanding transit center.
New hub, photo courtesy Rick Cinclair, Worcester Telegram and Gazette
The new Bus Hub replaces a transfer facility that was several blocks away from Union Station's rail services. Riders of the more than 200 buses that will use the Hub each day will now have direct connections to Amtrak, intercity bus service, and commuter rail.
As Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff said, "Worcester’s new transportation hub is a huge win for transit riders, offering a seamless connection between bus and rail service in New England’s second largest city."
This means hard-working families, students, and other riders now have more options for getting to work, school, medical appointments and wherever they need to go. And not just in Worcester. The new Hub will allow transit riders easy access to destinations throughout Central Massachusetts, New England, and the entire Northeast Corridor.
The Bus Hub has eight bus bays, a waiting area with rest rooms and a 24-hour ticket machine, covered bike racks, seating, and electronic updates on bus arrivals. Already in place are charging panels for the electric buses WRTA plans to have on its routes this fall, adding to a fleet that includes a growing number of hybrid diesel-electric buses. The energy-efficient building will also serve as WRTA's administrative headquarters with offices, a customer service center, wi-fi, and retail space.
The new Hub is one more piece in the Union Station renovation plan that the Worcester community has been working hard to complete. A vibrant city square has replaced an old, dilapidated shopping center, and businesses in the Canal District are booming. These new and renovated assets in downtown Worcester represent what happens when people come together, put aside their differences, and focus on their common goals.
And yesterday's opening ceremony was a strong indication that cooperation and compromise are working for Worcester.