(NECN: Katelyn Tivnan) – We begin with another bump in the road for the Worcester Regional Transit Authority. Since moving its bus hub from City Hall to Foster Street two months ago, there has been no shortage of complaints, with most having to do with buses not running on schedule.
Now, there are complaints from the business community, which are prompting the WRTA to take action
The Newsroom on Front Street in Worcester, Mass. looks forward to its lunchtime rush, but Manager Raj Patel hasn't seen it in months.
“Used to have at lunchtime three people working with no time, now we have three people working with no customers,” he says.
Newsroom is one of a handful of business' blaming the lull in customers on the relocation of the WRTA bus hub from City Hall to Foster Street.
According to Patel, sales are down close to 35-percent.
“Lots of expired soda and can't sometimes get credit; can't move things that we did before.”
Business at nearby Honeydew Donuts and the Midtown Mall has also dipped. A new shuttle service kicking off this week could be bringing some relief, though.
“They expressed need for link between City Hall and the hub and this was our way of doing that and putting more service onto Main Street,” says WRTA Administrator Stephen O'Neil.
He has a hard time believing the new hub, located about 500 feet from City Hall, is the reason for a decline in business. The shuttle costs the WRTA $120,000 a year to run. It makes loops from the hub to City Hall every 15 minutes.
“It's a work in progress; if we need to extend route or we need to shorten it, etcetera, we can do that going forward.”
Peg Waller's first trip on the shuttle has her thinking it might be faster just to walk, but she doesn't think it's a bad idea.
“More for people with heavy bags because it's hard to walk far and for elderly people, too.”
So far, the Newsroom hasn't seen any changes but they're staying optimistic.
“We never thought it was going to be this bad.”