The Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA) is partnering with Via to launch a new on-demand public transportation service in Westborough. The new service, called Via WRTA, will allow residents and commuters to use the Via app to hail a shuttle directly from their mobile devices.
The on-demand transit network will span approximately 12-square-miles through the heart of the city, servicing destinations like Westborough High School, Westborough Senior Center, and two MBTA commuter rail stations. WRTA is funding the on-demand commuter service using a $460,000 award from MassDOT. The award was part of $3.5 million in grant funding for RTAs across the Commonwealth.
Using Via’s advanced algorithms, Via WRTA will enable multiple riders to share the same vehicle, directing passengers to a nearby virtual bus stop for pick up and drop off, allowing for quick and efficient shared rides without lengthy detours.
Additionally, all rides will place an emphasis on safety in response to COVID-19. Masks will be required to ride, capacity is capped at just three passengers per vehicle, and riders are prompted to use hand sanitizer before touching door handles — or to stay home if they are not feeling well.
The on-demand service will be available seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Transit riders will be able to try the service for free for the first 30 days. After that, Via will operate at $2 per ride, and all rides either to or from the MBTA station will cost $1.