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In This Issue
Stakeholders convene to form Regional Coordinating Councils
MBTA to reduce RIDE fare
WRTA launches new services
MBTA to pilot late night service
Coordination leader wins award
Boston MPO to host transportation equity forum
Southeastern MA launches needs assessment survey
Commuter parity to expire
From the desk of the Statewide Mobility Manager
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Happy holidays! 

This December 2013 issue of the MassMobility newsletter contains news of interest to anyone who is interested in community transportation, human service transportation coordination, or mobility management in Massachusetts. MassMobility is compiled by the Human Service Transportation (HST) Office of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS), as part of our federally funded grant to develop a Mobility Management Information Network across Massachusetts.


We would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year. Do you have a resolution related to transportation coordination or mobility management for 2014? Please share it with us or tweet us @MassMobility.

 Stakeholders convene to form Regional Coordinating Councils

Since the Statewide Coordinating Council for Community Transportation (SCCCT) launched in September, staff at MassDOT and EOHHS have been working with SCCCT members and regional stakeholders to launch Regional Coordinating Councils (RCCs) across Massachusetts. RCCs have the power to define their own structure and priorities, so each RCC will have its own unique look and feel that reflects its region's strengths and needs. In December, two regions held RCC planning meetings, and the Cape and Islands launched their RCC. At all three meetings, a diverse group of stakeholders gathered, representing transit, regional planning agencies, state health and human service agencies, and community organizations.


On December 2, SCCCT member Jana Hunkler of Berkshire Rides partnered with local staff from the Department of Developmental Services and the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission to convene stakeholders in Pittsfield for a planning meeting about founding an RCC in the Berkshires. The group had a lively discussion about whom else to reach out to and stressed the importance of building on previous coordination work done in the region, including the Coordinated Human Service Transportation Plan and needs assessments that the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission has conducted. Attendees decided to conduct a survey to get specific information about trip requests that are hard or impossible to fill.


Department of Developmental Services Area Director Michelle Harris convened a planning meeting in Fitchburg for the North Central RCC on December 12. Attendees discussed existing community transportation options in their region and brainstormed opportunities for the providers to coordinate their services or increase their capacity. The group also discussed potential projects for an RCC to take on, such as starting a vehicle share program like the one in Northern Berkshire County.


On December 16, SCCCT member Tom Cahir of the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority convened twenty stakeholders from Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard for the launch of an RCC representing the Cape and Islands. The group decided to begin by identifying existing services and unmet needs. Attendees plan to review existing inventories and needs assessments at their next meeting, which will be held on January 13. 


Additional RCCs will launch in 2014. If you are interested in learning more about your region's RCC, please contact us. The next SCCCT meeting is scheduled for January 24, with a snow date of January 27. Meeting details are available on the MassDOT calendar.

MBTA votes to reduce RIDE fare

On December 11, the MBTA board voted to reduce THE RIDE fare from $4 to $3 as of January 6, 2014. The fare has been $4 since July 2012, when it doubled from its previous $2 rate - in contrast to average fare increases of 23% across all modes. As a result, riders reported that the increased expense caused them to reduce their trips and cut back in other areas, such as spending less on groceries, medicine, or social activities. The Massachusetts Senior Action Council has been campaigning against the fare increase.

WRTA launches new services 

In December, the Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA) launched shuttle service in Grafton, Northbridge, Paxton, and Westborough. Two daily routes connecting Grafton and Northbridge began on December 2. A shuttle in Paxton connecting Anna Maria College to Worcester Union Station on Wednesdays and Fridays launched on December 11.


Service also launched on December 2 in Westborough. The Westborough shuttle connects commuters from the Westborough MBTA commuter rail station to an office park that includes BJ's Wholesale Club and other large employers. The commuter shuttle runs once in the morning, once mid-day, and twice in the evening. At other points in the day, the shuttle runs a local route around town.


Flag stops are accepted outside of Worcester on all routes except the Westborough commuter shuttle, meaning that the shuttle will stop to pick passengers up or drop them off at safe locations even without a designated bus stop. In addition, ADA-eligible riders can call in advance to request these services to flex off their routes. More information is available on WRTA's website.

MBTA announces pilot of late-night weekend service 

Starting in spring 2014, MBTA subway, light rail, and 15 key bus routes will run until 3 AM Friday and Saturday nights. The MBTA will pilot late-night service for a year and then assess whether to continue. For the pilot year, the MBTA will charge the same fare for late-night service as for service at other times. To fund this initiative, Governor Patrick identified some state resources and is also working to secure private dollars from area companies. The Boston Globe has pledged $500,000.

Transportation coordination leader receives public service award

Congratulations to Doug Halley, Health Director for the Town of Acton, for receiving the Donald R. Wheeler Award for Public Sector Leadership from the 495/MetroWest Partnership on December 5. Doug has worked very hard to bring local players together to form the Crosstown Connect regional transportation partnership that counts the towns of Acton, Boxborough, Littleton, Maynard, and Stow along with employer partner Clock Tower Place as members. Additional partners are also working to join the municipally-led Transportation Management Association that Crosstown Connect is forming. Please join us in congratulating Doug and Crosstown Connect.

Boston MPO invites stakeholders to discuss mobility and transportation equity

On January 14, the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) - in partnership with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, HST, and MassDOT - will convene a Transportation Equity Forum to promote transportation services for populations who historically have had problems accessing, paying for, or receiving transportation that meets all of their trip-making needs. These target populations include seniors, minorities, people with low incomes, people with disabilities, those with limited English proficiency, veterans, and/or people living in zero-vehicle households in the MPO region. The Boston MPO region covers 101 cities and towns in Greater Boston. Attendees will hear from a panel and will then split into geographic breakout sessions to discuss needs and opportunities in their regions. Meeting details are available from the MPO, and they ask attendees to RSVP by January 6.


To learn about more events like this one, check out our calendar of mobility management events and funding opportunities for Massachusetts.

Southeastern MA launches needs assessment survey 

In preparation for the launch of a Regional Coordination Council in Southeastern Massachusetts, stakeholders are conducting a needs assessment survey. If you work for an agency or organization in Southeastern Massachusetts that serves low-income individuals, seniors, or people with disabilities, and you would like to participate in a regional transportation survey, please contact Mary Basilone at or Angie Azevedo at

Commuter parity to expire January 1 

On January 1, the monthly benefit that employers can offer to employees tax-free to cover transit and vanpool commuting will reduce from $245 to $130, while tax-free benefits for driving and parking will increase to $250. Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon has introduced legislation to extend the transit benefit and maintain parity, but Congress has yet to vote on the bill.

From the desk of the Statewide Mobility Manager 

Aniko Laszlo, Statewide Mobility Manager at MassDOT, blogs monthly on topics related to community transportation in Massachusetts. This month, she discusses data on changes in American travel habits and considers the implications for mobility management. Check out her current posting and archives to learn about ongoing efforts around the state.

Follow us on Twitter 

Are you on Twitter? If so, follow us @MassMobility for links to community transportation resources relevant to organizations and agencies here in Massachusetts. If you aren't on Twitter, you can still see our posts online at


What social media are you using? Let us know where you like to find information and where you like to share information.

We want to know your stories

If you have suggestions for news items or topics to cover in future newsletters, please contact us. Comments, questions, and feedback are also welcome.

Please share this newsletter

Please forward this newsletter widely to others who are interested in mobility management, community transportation, or related topics and encourage them to subscribe to receive future newsletters and publications. 

You can also read archive editions of all MassMobility newsletters.