Northbridge Looks At Bus Service To Millbury, Grafton

  • Comments (19)
From left, Mary Ellen Blunt of Central Mass. Regional Planning Commission, and Stephen O'Neil, administrator with Worcester Regional Transportation Authority discuss bus service for Northbridge with the Board of Selectmen.
From left, Mary Ellen Blunt of Central Mass. Regional Planning Commission, and Stephen O'Neil, administrator with Worcester Regional Transportation Authority discuss bus service for Northbridge with the Board of Selectmen. Photo Credit: Deborah Gauthier

NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – Northbridge residents may soon be able to catch a bus to the Shoppes of the Blackstone Valley in Millbury or to the commuter rail station in Grafton.

Despite a lack of public transportation, Northbridge has been paying an assessment of $102,000 to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority for many years.

Concerned over paying for services that aren’t provided, the Board of Selectmen asked Town Manager Theodore Kozak to investigate the possibility of public transportation.

Kozak said he has been talking with representatives of the Worcester Regional Transportation Authority and the Central Mass. Regional Planning Commission who attended a meeting Monday with the Board of Selectmen.

“There is money on the table that isn’t being used,’’ WRTA administrator Stephen O’Neil said.

Though bus service is still in the planning stage, O’Neil is looking at 4.5 round trips to Millbury five days a week and service to the Grafton commuter rail station on an unknown schedule. 

The towns of Northbridge and Grafton would share the cost of the bus to the commuter rail station, he said.

The estimated cost is $67,000 for the trips to the Shoppes and $19,000 for the Northbridge share of the trips to Grafton.

The WRTA is also talking with the Council on Aging to determine how bus service could help that group’s transportation issues.

Final service schedules will be determined after meetings with focus groups and discussions with residents, O’Neil said.

The first step, he said, is for selectmen to vote to join the WRTA board. That vote will be taken Jan. 28.

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Comments (19)

Oh just one more thing how many money sucking studies do we have to do?

union man,

As many as needed in order that the resident voters be informed of "the facts"!
Fact do not show themselves without study.
Opinions may be correct but are not always determined by facts or the truth.

Union Man,

You have to 'Accent The Positive'!

Most people would rather see a direct Benefit from the $105,000 the Town is being assessed now, then the present Indirect one.

I did not hear them say that the Town would have to pay for a study, sounds like their is going to be some informative Public Meetings on how the WRTA can help the Town, maybe at the Town hall? Plus help people that are hurting in these tough economic times. Plus in general to help people with their potential transportation needs, to Worcester, Shops in Millbury, and the Grafton Commuter Train Station.

Plus maybe help the Seniors at the Senior Center for possible Bus Transportation needs also.

Come on, you people stand a better chance of building a new DPW garage, and you know that isn't going to happen.

Union Man,

Maybe something revised or new may come along for a new DPW, or a combined DPW/Fire Station, or what not?

Hope may still live and the dream may never die!

Did they mention if they would connect through to Worcester? I thought it was not going to.

I believe the assesments can only be applied to services from an agency like the WRTA. The towns can't get that money back in-hand to spend themselves. It is a pretty involved situation.

When I asked last week about this I believe it was too early to tell if there would be any stops in Grafton, other than the possibility at the train station. But the route there could go by some likely users who could benefit. Also, Stop and Shop in Grafton might provide a chance for a bit of park and ride.


If I recall correctly I thought they mentioned the WRTA Bus Stop at the Shops in Millbury could also connect with their City of Worcester WRTA Bus routes.

Maybe our Town Officials could have some Public Meetings at the Selectmen's Meeting Room? So a lot of these question's that have been brought up on this post could be answered by residents?

Or suggestively put a WRTA FAQ guide on the Town's website if possible?

why doesn't the town just buy a bus? It's not that much money...then hire some people to drive the bus. Collect bus fees and put towards bus stuff...shelters etc...also place local ads on bus from buisinessess in towns to help with more bus stuff instead of paying 102k for nothing.

I must be missing something it cant be that simple or cheap

Ain't going to happen.

Thanks Sonny, I have actually been aware that we have been paying the $102K or many years with only "indirect" service - which I have never been a fan of - seems to benefit Grafton much more than Northbridge.

I was a daily public transportation commuter for many years - 20 to be exact - so I well understand he benefits. Just thought I left my city life behind - not looking forward to sharing the roads with buses. That's all.


Stillaranch, when you think about it since the 1930's we have been sharing the roads in Town with Trailer Trucks, Dump trucks, etc, etc, some as long as the Empire State building in today present times.

From the way they were talking at the BOS Meeting we are light years away from how the cabs and buses are in NY City. Plus a lot of people in these tough economic times, or the family's with only one car may benefit, plus those who use the Commuter Train in Grafton.

The other day I was behind a new modern WRTA Bus in Worcester, no issues in my humble opinion.


What you outlined would be nice if that's how it's going to work - the article doesn't say anything to that effect. Would be great to have more info from the town on how this is going to work.

Where would these bus routes be, anyway? I don't know how I feel about a public bus running through town. Would really take away from the small town feel of Northbridge.

Depending on the times, it could still be of limited value to anyone relying on the commuter rail to get to and from work.


If you think about it for the yearly assessment $102,000 we are getting an indirect service now as Taxpayers. With the WRTA Service we are getting something then the indirect service we are getting now.

BOS CA has been discussing this for years that we receive an indirect service for our yearly $102,000 assessment to the MBTA. Now it looks like we may receive a direct service from the WRTA for that $102,000.
Most likely their will be public meetings at the Town Hall on where the stop's may be?

Years ago before America thought car's was the total answer for transportation, their was buses and trains for the public to use. This will help out people in these tough economic times, plus the young and old which may not have cars.

As a Taxpayer I am happy that I may be getting a 'direct service' for the Towns yearly $102,000, and I agree with BOS CA on this issue.

Adding a bus makes sense to me (although I wouldn't be able to use it)... would there be any stops in Grafton?

I would love to take the train to work, but because of the way things have developed and spread out so much, it just doesn't make sense to spend 3+ hours each way to take the train into Boston from Grafton and then back out to Lowell for ~$14 (?) a day when I can drive to Lowell in 50 min for ~$10 a day.

Interesting bit of history... I believe passengers were at one time able to take the Grafton and Upton Railroad down to Hopedale, where the could connect to several steet railway lines... It looks like these also connected with Northbridge via the P&W RR.. Map here: ""

I would love to see bus service to the Grafton commuter rail station. I periodically use the commuter rail to get to work, and find it to be a great convenience. Bus service there, if it's done adequately, could be really nice.

What, the $102,000 that we've paid for years with no transit isn't enough? We have to kick in an additional $80,000+ ? Hardly seems worth it for the scanty schedule they're talking about.


From my understanding the Town will not have to pay anything extra for this WRTA Service. If correct our $102,000 yearly MBTA Assessment, and the Town of Grafton also kicking in part of their Assessment means no additional extra cost to the Town.

If I am correct our MBTA yearly assessment of $102,000 will now pay for this Service and as a Town we will now receive a direct service instead of an indirect service for our yearly MBTA $102,000 assessment. So we would still have to pay the $102,000 even if we did not receive the WRTA Service is my understanding? So we are now getting a direct service with the WRTA, and the $102,000 we are going to have to pay anyway we are now receiving a direct benefit from that yearly payment. As I understood it the $80,000 will be deducted out of the yearly state asessed $102,000 and what is left over may be used for the Towns Senior Citizens at the Senior Center for special Bus Commutes, or other possible good public causes..

Someone can correct me if I am wrong?

If this WRTA Bus Service goes through maybe the Town could potentially find some extra possible funds in the Town's, 'Special Town Meeting Account Fund' to build some State or Federally approved BUS Stop Shelters for the public that may use this long awaited Town BUS Service?

Hopefully the BUS Stops and Shelters may be strategically located, next to possible parking availability?