MetroWest Regional Transit Authority (MWRTA)
Map of the MetroWest Regional Transit Authority (MWRTA) service area in green with the central hub town of Framingham in blue.
HeadquartersFramingham, Massachusetts, US
LocaleMetroWest, Massachusetts
Service area
Service type
Alliance495/MetroWest Corridor Partnership
MetroWest/495 Transportation Management Association
Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce
MetroWest Chamber of Commerce
MetroWest Growth Management Committee
Transaction Associates, Inc.
HubsFramingham, Massachusetts
Fleet20 Ford E-Series cutaways
Annual ridership484,000 (FY2014)[1]
OperatorKiessling Transit
AdministratorEd Carr

The MetroWest Regional Transit Authority (MWRTA) is a regional public transit authority in the state of Massachusetts providing bus and paratransit service to eleven communities in the Boston MetroWest. The MWRTA was formed in 2006 and began service on July 1, 2007 with the purpose of filling a void in public transportation service in the MetroWest. Through a commitment to deliver expanded public transportation service to the business and commercial hubs across the MetroWest region, the goals and purpose of the MWRTA are embodied in its mission statement: "Build a public transportation system to deliver convenient and dependable service that enhances mobility, environmental quality and economic vitality in the region."[2] Funding for the MWRTA comes partially from the state and local governments of the communities it operates within.[3]


Paratransit service is a flexible passenger transportation service which does not follow fixed routes or schedules. According to ADA requirements, the MWRTA must provide paratransit service as a curb-to-curb service to eligible residents having a physical, cognitive, or mental disability within a 3/4 mile radius of a fixed route regular bus service. In addition, MWRTA paratransit service is also provided to eligible residents within any of its eleven member communities. All MWRTA buses are equipped with lift systems to accommodate the physically handicapped along their regular fixed routes. The MWRTA also provides paratransit service to MWRTA service area border towns at an increased fare.[4] The paratransit service is provided in the form of a call-ahead multi-passenger shuttle allowing disabled residents of MWRTA communities to be picked up at their houses and shuttled to any other location within or bordering the MWRTA service region, such as other residences, grocery stores, hospitals, or job sites.

Prior to the creation of the MWRTA, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) provided part of its paratransit service, called The RIDE (see MBTA accessibility) to the two communities of Framingham and Natick within the current MWRTA service area. The MBTA continue to provide The RIDE to Framingham and Natick until 2009 under contractual obligations. On July 1, 2009, administration of paratransit service to Framingham and Natick switched from the MBTA to MWRTA in alignment with the change in assessments paid to the MWRTA by those communities rather than to the MBTA.[4]


The MWRTA provides sixteen fixed bus routes. The fleet consists of twenty Ford E-Series cutaway-based 18-passenger buses. All buses contain lift systems capable of carrying up to 800 pounds for physically disabled passengers.[5]


Displayed below is the MWRTA route listing.[6] Following each route entry is a listing of points of interest which can be reached along the route..

Numerical MWRTA Route Listing
Route Destinations of Interest
Route 1 - Woodland Shuttle Natick Mall, MathWorks, Woodland T Station
Route 2 - Framingham Circuit (clockwise) Central Hub Framingham, Concord / Howard Sts., MetroWest Medical Center, Saxonville, Nobscot, Centre Common, Stop&Shop, Malls
Route 3 - Framingham Circuit (counter clockwise) Central Hub Framingham, Concord / Howard Sts., Wal-Mart, Saxonville, Nobscot, Malls.
Route 4 - Market Basket / Beaver Park / Natick Mall Central Hub, MCI Adesa Beaver Park, Market Basket, Concord Howard St., Old Conn Path, Natick Mall, Shoppers World, Sherwood Plaza.
Route 5 - Hopkinton Line Central Hub Framingham, Ashland, Hopkinton, Framingham MBTA Station.
Route 6 - Holliston Milford Line Central Hub Framingham, Ashland, Holliston, Milford, Framingham MBTA Station.
Route 7 - Southborough / Marlborough Line Central Hub, Downtown Framingham, Southborough, Marlborough City Hall.
Route 7C - Inner City Marlborough Marlborough City Hall, Marlborough Hospital, Solomon Pond Mall, Post Road Shopping Center, Hager Street.
Route 8 - Wellesley Line Natick Mall, Wellesley College, Weston Rd., Fells Market, Cross St., Cameron St., Central St., Linden St., State St., Wellesley Hills, Lower Falls, Barton Rd., Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Woodland T Station.
Route 9 - Natick Framingham Worcester Rd Natick Mall, Shopper's World, Technology Park, and the 9-90 Corporate Center
Route 10 - Natick Daily Route Central Hub, West Natick station, Natick Center station, Natick Mall, Grocery Stores, Downtown Natick as well as the South Natick area
Route 11 - Natick Mid Day See Route 10 But Doesn't go to Eliot Church In South Natick
Route 14 - Milford Numerous locations within the town proper
Route 15 - Hudson Marlborough Senior Center, Marlborough Hospital, Hudson Housing Authority, Hudson Senior Center, Highland Commons Shopping Center
Framingham Commuter Shuttle Central Hub, Framingham Commuter Rail Station, Framingham State University, areas around Framingham
Natick Commuter Shuttle Both Natick Commuter Rail stations and areas around Natick
Boston Hospital Shuttle Central Hub and various Boston area hospitals
Boston Scientific Commuter Shuttle Boston Scientific and Southborough Commuter Rail station

The MWRTA partnership with GeoGraphics Lab provides live-updates of bus locations via an online map service.[7] The service displays current bus locations on a map with the use of bus-mounted GPS devices. The map service also allows the individual bus routes to be displayed overlaying the map.


Fare costs are as follows:[8]

MWRTA Bus Fare Costs
Age Group Cash CharlieCard
Adults $1.50 $1.10
Students with ID or under age 18 $1.00 N/A
Elderly age 65 or disabled showing appropriate ID $0.75 $0.70
Children under age six accompanied by a paying adult free N/A

Transfers are provided free of charge between buses with the use of a transfer coupon or CharlieCard. Transfer coupons must be requested from the driver of the bus upon exiting the bus and displayed to the driver of the bus to be transferred to upon entry. The transfer coupon (or stored transfer in the case of a Charlie Card) must be used within 30 minutes of receipt.[8]

In November 2010, the MWRTA started accepting fares electronically via the MBTA CharlieCard. Stored Value CharlieCard users are offered a discounted local fare of $1.10. Senior/Disabled passengers are also offered a discounted fare when using the appropriate Senior/Disabled CharlieCards.


The birth of the MWRTA

In 2006, an Economic Stimulus Bill passed in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts included legislation pushed by Karen Spilka and other MetroWest area legislators.[9] The legislation opened the possibility of a new Regional Transit Authority to be formed in the MetroWest region. The legislation states that any community providing an annual assessment to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) but not served directly by the MBTA may form their own Regional Transit Authority (RTA) using that funding instead.[10]

Under the advisement of the legislation, the MWRTA was created in Framingham with the neighboring communities of Holliston, Hopkinton, Natick, Ashland, and Wayland. At the time, Framingham had its own community bus system called The LIFT (Local Inter Framingham Transit).The newly formed MWRTA was based on The LIFT. With this system, the communities of the MWRTA would have a basis for their new RTA.[11]

Natick neighborhood bus system

As part of the growth of the MWRTA and due to Natick joining the system, Natick's own Neighborhood Bus system was incorporated into the MWRTA in the summer of 2008. Rates rose from $1 to $1.50 for adults with the rate hike justified as allowing residents of Natick to move anywhere in the system, as far out as Marlborough.[12] The incorporation of this system created a link of service from Natick to Marlborough across two routes spanning more than 25 miles combined.


The RIDE is a paratransit service provided by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) to regions of the Greater Boston Area. Prior to the creation of the MWRTA, the MBTA provided paratransit service to the MWRTA member communities of Framingham and Natick through The RIDE. Due to the formation of the MWRTA as a new Regional Transit Authority (RTA) within the MetroWest, annual assessments can now be funneled toward the MWRTA rather than the MBTA. Administration of paratransit service to Framingham and Natick switched from the MBTA to the MWRTA on July 1, 2009.[4]

MBTA Green Line shuttle

An MWRTA bus at Woodland in 2015
An MWRTA bus at Woodland in 2015

Green Line shuttle service is targeted at commuters traveling to work in the Metrowest from Boston. It poses an alternative to the MBTA Commuter Rail Framingham/Worcester Line which focuses more on Boston inbound traffic during the morning hours, and outbound traffic from Boston to Framingham during the evening hours. Consequently, the commuter rail provides less frequent service in the opposite direction during those respective times. The Green Line shuttle instead links the MWRTA bus system with the MBTA subway system and provides service every twenty-five minutes during morning and evening commute hours.[13][14]

Future plans

This section needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (December 2016)

The MWRTA is discussing[when?] expansion of bus service within its service region particularly to the four communities which receive only paratransit service. In particular, Sherborn is a member community of the MWRTA, but does not receive fixed route bus service. Prior to the creation of the MWRTA, Sherborn paid annual assessments to the MBTA although it did not receive public transportation service. Since joining the MWRTA, selectmen conducted surveys through mass mailings to the residents of Sherborn, and responses were mostly positive toward creating a bus route between downtown Sherborn and a Natick commuter-rail station.[13]


  1. ^ Haddadin, Jim (22 November 2014). "MWRTA sees 10 percent increase in bus riders". MetroWest Daily News. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  2. ^ "About MWRTA". MetroWest Regional Transit Authority. Retrieved October 8, 2008.
  3. ^ "MWRTA FAQ". MetroWest Regional Transit Authority. Retrieved October 8, 2008.
  4. ^ a b c "MWRTA Senior & Disabled Transportation". MetroWest Regional Transit Authority. Retrieved October 8, 2008.
  5. ^ Andrew J. Manuse (December 2, 2007). "Roads & Rails: MetroWest RTA takes over this week". The MetroWest Daily News. Retrieved October 9, 2008.
  6. ^ "MWRTA Routes & Schedules". MetroWest Regional Transit Authority. Retrieved February 2, 2010.
  7. ^ Real-time MWRTA bus tracking service GeoGraphics Laboratory
  8. ^ a b "MWRTA Rates & Passes". MetroWest Regional Transit Authority. Retrieved October 22, 2014.
  9. ^ Jennifer Kavanaugh. (June 25, 2006). "MBTA may no longer be the only game in town" (PDF). The Milford Daily News.
  10. ^ Matthew G. Feher (June 23, 2006). "Legislature sends nearly $1B in new spending to governor". Massachusetts Municipal Association.
  11. ^ John C. Drake (June 28, 2007). "Regional transit authority sets its wheels in motion". The Boston Globe.
  12. ^ Charlie Breitrose. (June 28, 2008). "Natick bus to join MWRTA system" (PDF). The MetroWest Daily News.
  13. ^ a b Anna Fiorentino (August 14, 2008). "Connection to MBTA on the way". The Boston Globe.
  14. ^ "MWRTA Schedules & Maps". MetroWest Regional Transit Authority. Retrieved October 8, 2008.