CITY OF WORCESTER

Public Service and Transportation Committee Meeting

Monday, February 24, 2020

Esther Howland (South) Chamber

Convened: 5:31 P.M.

Adjourned: 7:31 P.M.


Mayor
Joseph M. Petty

 

www.worcesterma.gov

 

Clerk of the City Council
Susan M. Ledoux

Committee Members

Chairperson Gary Rosen
Vice Chairperson Donna M Colorio
Councilor Sarai Rivera
 

City Hall - 455 Main Street Worcester, Massachusetts


Present Were:Chairperson Councilor Gary Rosen Councilor Donna M. Colorio Councilor Sean M. Rose - Appointed by the Mayor for this meeting only
 
Also:School Committee Member Dianna Biancheria Worcester Regional Transit Authority Director Dennis Lipka Senior Transportation Planner Brian Pigeon City Managerís Chief of Staff Jacob Sanders Assistant City Clerk Stephen A.J. Pottle, clerk
 
1.

Approval of the Minutes

1a.

Order - That the City Council Standing Committee of Public Service and Transportation hereby approves the minutes of the Public Service and Transportation Committee on December 17, 2019.

View Agenda

Chairperson Councilor Rosen read the item and moved to adopt the item. Order adopted.

2.

WRTA Related Items

2a.

Order of Councilor Gary Rosen - Request the City Council Standing Committee on Public Service and Transportation hold a public hearing(s) to discuss whether the inefficient, under-utilized, taxpayer-subsidized and possibly obsolete WRTA is serving the public transportation needs of Worcester residents. # 10b CC May 28, 2019

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor Gary Rosen read the item and then made opening remarks in relation to the goals of the Committee relating to fare-free bus services in the city.

Chairperson Councilor Gary Rosen recognized Alex Guardiola of the Worcester Chamber of Commerce, who spoke on behalf of the Chamber in favor of a Fare-Free System.

Chairperson Councilor Gary Rosen recognized members of the Zero-Fare WRTA Coalition and members of the public who wished to speak:
1. Kandra Gray, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of implementing fare free system
2. Etel Haxhiaj, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of implementing fare free system
3. Paul Papinchuck, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of implementing fare free system
4. Robin Clemens, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of implementing fare free system
5. Shawn Martel, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of implementing fare free system
6. Tanya Whitworth, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of implementing fare free system
7. Don Anderson, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of implementing fare free system
8. Crystal Bedrick, Webster resident, spoke in favor of implementing fare free system
9. Margaret Green, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of implementing fare free system
10. Terri Kelley, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of implementing fare free system
11. Kelly Dickerson, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of implementing fare free system
12. Mark Mellon, Auburn resident, spoke in favor of implementing fare free system
13. Jen Falcon, no residence given, spoke in favor of implementing fare free system
14. Joe Bilel, Holden resident, spoke in favor of implementing fare free system
15. Robert Bilotta, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of implementing fare free system
16. Aaron Perd, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of implementing fare free system and to improve services already in use
17. Casey Burns, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of implementing fare free system
18. Vic Mohica, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of implementing fare free system
19. Judy Diamondstone, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of implementing fare free system
20. Jo Hart, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of implementing fare free system
21. Ellen Onderslowski, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of implementing fare free system
22. Kristine Kolawski, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of implementing fare free system
23. Howie Feign, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of implementing fare free system
24. Ted Conna, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of implementing fare free system
25. Angel Florina, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of implementing fare free system
26. Therung Sha, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of implementing fare free system
27. Amy Tisdale, Worcester resident spoke in favor of implementing fare free system
28. Regina Guthrow, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of implementing fare free system
29. Ethan Opong, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of fixing scheduling prior to implementing fare free system
30. Virginia (no last name given), Worcester resident, spoke in favor of implementing fare free system
31. Killian Madden, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of implementing fare free system
32. Dominick Raska, Spencer resident, spoke in favor of implementing fare free system

Chairperson Councilor Rosen spoke to what would be required in order to implement a fare free system, including support from the board of the WRTA.

Chairperson Councilor Rosen recognized the WRTA Administrator, who provided the committee will information concerning the operations of the WRTA and the various locations the WRTA services.

Chairperson Councilor Rosen recognized Councilor Colorio, who spoke to taking public transportation herself and spoke to concerns about going fare free, including potential cuts elsewhere to implement plan and then quoted studies regarding failing fare free pilot programs.

Chairperson Councilor Rosen read a portion of testimony received from State Senator Harriette Chandlerís testimony, which stated she is in favor of a fare free system.

Chairperson Councilor Rosen recognized Councilor Rose, who raised questions to the WRTA Administrator concerning the budgetary documentation provided in the WRRB report, which the WRTA Administrator addressed.

Chairperson Councilor Rosen moved to hold the item.

Recommend Hold

2b.

Order of Councilor Gary Rosen, Councilor Sarai Rivera, Councilor Khrystian E. King, Councilor Morris A. Bergman, Councilor Donna M. Colorio, Councilor Candy Mero-Carlson, Councilor Sean M. Rose, Councilor Gary Rosen, Councilor George J. Russell, Councilor Kathleen M. Toomey, Councilor Matthew E. Wally and Mayor Joseph M. Petty - Request Public Service and Transportation Committee hold public hearings throughout the city to consider the recommendations made by the Worcester Municipal Research Report in a report of May 2019. The report deals with the feasibility and desirability of establishing a three-year first of its kind pilot project in Massachusetts in which the WRTA would implement a fare-free system. As in several other cities and towns across America, it is expected that such a change would significantly increase ridership, reliability and efficiency, among others. # 13b CC January 7, 2020

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor Rosen read the item and moved to hold the item.

Recommend Hold

2c.

Order of Councilor Gary Rosen - Request City Councilís Standing Committee on Public Service and Transportation discuss the feasibility of having WRTA buses transport more Worcester Public School students to and from school. Further, request Standing Committee on Public Service and Transportation Committee consider all safety implications for youths who would utilize said services. # 8c CC January 28, 2020

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor Rosen read the item and moved to hold the item.

Recommend Hold

2d.

Communication of Timothy McGourthy, Executive Director of the Worcester Regional Research Bureau, transmitting, ďThe Implications of a Fare-Free WRTA.Ē # 8a CC June 4, 2019

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor Rosen read the item and recognized Paul Matthews, Executive Director of the Worcester Regional Research Bureau (WRRB), who provided an introduction to the communication brought forth by the WRRB.

Chairperson Councilor Rosen recognized Tom Quinn, Research Associate for the WRRB, who provided an outline of the report, which included information concerning the state of the WRTA, metrics to measure success, statistics on ridership and other effects and considerations.

Chairperson Councilor Rosen moved to hold the item.

Recommend Hold.

2e.

Petition of Jo Hart request City Council provide a master plan for public transportation to the Polar Park area. # 9e CC August 13, 2019

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor Rosen read the item and moved to hold the item.

Recommend Hold

2f.

Petition of Jo Hart request City Council work with the City Solicitor and the Department of Transportation to clarify who or what entity is actually responsible for seeing what needs to be done to obtain at minimum a workable level of public transportation for Worcester from the Worcester Regional Transportation Authority (WRTA). # 8g CC November 13, 2018

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor Rosen read the item and moved to hold the item.

Recommend Hold