New Bedford Bus Service Evaluation – Final Report

The New Bedford Bus Service Evaluation is a comprehensive operational analysis (COA) of the Southeastern Regional Transit Authority (SRTA)’s New Bedford bus network. SRTA operates eleven fixed routes that originate from downtown New Bedford, MA, in addition to three school routes. This study is the first time since 2014 that SRTA is completing a comprehensive evaluation of the entire New Bedford network. The purpose of this study is to make recommendations to match SRTA’s New Bedford fixed-route service with the changing demand for transit, by adjusting routes and schedules to better meet the needs of bus riders.

In addition, 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. The final sections of this report also explore the level of transit service needed to fully meet the needs of New Bedford residents, which would require additional funding above what is provided today.