Podcast: MeVa Transit Extends Six Bus Routes Two Hours Later Into the Night with Added State Money

An unidentified rider steps off a MeVa Transit bus at Salisbury Beach. (Courtesy photograph.)

MeVa Transit’s six highest bus ridership routes will be running two hours later starting tomorrow thanks, in part, to a $56 million statewide budget increase for regional transit authorities.

MeVa Transit Administrator Noah Berger, a recent guest on WHAV’s “Win for Breakfast” program, said he also has more drivers, helping support extended hours.

“With our September schedule, we’ll be extending service on six routes, including two in Haverhill, to 9 at night. One of the areas we’ve heard about from our riders, and community groups in general, is that we stop running too early. We stop at 6 in Haverhill and 7 in Lawrence, and life just doesn’t stop at 6 or 7 o’clock at night,” he said.

Berger went on to explain a couple of the routes that will see extended service.

“We targeted routes that will get people back from the plazas, that’s where folks are working. The routes in Haverhill that will run until 9 o’clock is the 1 that connects Haverhill and Lawrence as well as the Loop, but also the 13 that goes Main Street, North Ave. and then hits Stateline Plaza and then the Walmart in Plaistow,” he added.

In addition, the new schedule covers route 2, which connects Lawrence with Andover via South Broadway; route 9, which connects Lawrence with North Andover via Phillips Street; route 10, which connects Lawrence with Methuen via Broadway; and route 24, which connects Lawrence with Lowell via Route 110. Buses depart from MeVa’s transportation centers at John J. Buckley Transportation Center in Lawrence and Haverhill’s Washington Square at 8 and 9 p.m., returning by 10 p.m.

Berger thanked the area’s legislative delegation for including increased transportation spending in the new state budget. Berger says the state’s 15 regional transit authorities had been “level funded” for the past six years. MeVa is currently not charging passengers for bus service. He added more changes will be coming.

“We’re working to add back Sunday service on high volume routes. It won’t necessarily be the same routes that we talked about for extending service because the demand is a little bit different on Sundays that it might be extending it into the evening. Obviously some of them will be the same. I think you can pretty much guarantee that The 1 will be running on Sundays, but we are still working that out. That would be for our January schedule. So just a preview of coming attractions,” Berger added.

In a separate statement, MeVa Chief Communications Officer Niorka Mendez said, “for a long time, riders and community groups have been asking us for later evening service and we’ve been listening. We are thrilled to be able to put this new funding to work to provide the service our community needs and deserves.”

There’s more schedule information at mevatransit.com.

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