New Bedford Bus Service Evaluation – Project Description

The Southeastern Regional Transit Authority (SRTA) operates twelve routes that originate from the downtown New Bedford terminal. Route alignments and service levels have not kept pace with changing demands resulting from population growth and shifts in housing trends.

In addition to changing demand for transit in New Bedford, state and local funding sources that provide a large portion of the fixed-route operating budget are not keeping pace with the rising costs of providing service. Budget projections for the coming years suggest fixed-route service will need to be reduced to match available funding. Reducing service is not SRTA’s preferred approach to balancing the budget, as it can have profound effects on the lives of the people that rely on the transit system. The objective of this comprehensive operational analysis is to develop service scenarios for New Bedford that can be implemented under a reduced-operating funds scenario that limit the extent of service cuts and do the least harm to the communities served by transit.

In the spring of 2022, SRTA evaluated three fixed routes in the southern portion of New Bedford (New Bedford Routes 1, 3, and 5). The service plan provided an operational assessment of the routes, service alternatives, and engaged the public for input on the alternatives. The findings from that assessment will be incorporated into this effort and should not require additional review.

Statement of Need

  • Analysis of ridership trends on SRTA’s New Bedford fixed routes.
  • Analysis of land use and population demographics for the study area.
  • Analysis of stop-level transit use in the study area that considers service type, time of day, day of week, and pattern of use.
  • Propose alternative alignments, schedule adjustments, new services, or other service changes to increase the use of fixed-route transit in the study area.
  • Evaluate proposed changes with respect to SRTA Title VI Program requirements.
  • An opinion of probable operating costs for each proposed service adjustment to determine if it is an increase, decrease, or cost-neutral operating budget impact.
  • Engage riders and non-riders to collect input to inform proposed service changes.