CITY OF WORCESTER

Public Service and Transportation Committee Meeting

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Levi Lincoln (North) Chamber

Convened: 5:01 P.M.

Adjourned: 7:20 P.M.


Mayor
Joseph M. Petty

 

www.worcesterma.gov

 

Clerk of the City Council
Nikolin Vangjeli

Committee Members

Chairperson Morris A Bergman
Vice Chairperson Thu Nguyen
Councilor Candy Mero-Carlson
 

City Hall - 455 Main Street Worcester, Massachusetts


Present Were:Chairperson Councilor Morris A Bergman Councilor Thu Nguyen Councilor Candy Mero-Carlson
 
Also:City Solicitor Michael Traynor Commissioner of Transportation and Mobility Stephen Rolle Commissioner of Public Works and Parks Jay Fink WRTA Administrator Dennis Lipka WRTA Advisory Board Vice Chairman Doug Belanger WRTA Deputy Administrator and CFO Tom Coyne WRTA Director of Marketing and Public Outreach Jamie Winters Principal Clerk Fundador Morales, translator Deputy City Clerk Stephen AJ Pottle, clerk
 
1.

Virtual Attendee Call-In Information

1a.

Pursuant to Chapter 20 of the Acts of 2021 and in order to ensure active, public engagement, the City of Worcester currently allows for both in-person and remote participation at all City Council and Standing Committee meetings. To partake in the meeting, you may attend the meeting in-person within the meeting location, follow the below link to join via Zoom or dial the direct line as indicated. Public Service and Transportation Committee Zoom Link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/99057901613 Public Service and Transportation Committee Zoom Phone Number: (929) 205 6099 Public Service and Transportation Committee Zoom Access Code: 990 5790 1613

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor Bergman read the item and recognized the following Chairmanís Order:
1. Adam Thielker, Worcester resident, spoke concerning items #3a and #3c
2. Terri Sherri, Worcester resident, spoke concerning item #3a
3. Anne Wheeler, Leicester resident, spoke concerning item #3a
4. Andrew Marsh, Worcester resident, spoke concerning item #3a
5. Deb Carey, Princeton resident, spoke concerning item #3a
6. Danielle Hines, Worcester resident, spoke concerning item #3a
7. Anne Bureau, Worcester resident, spoke concerning item #3a
8. Virginia (No last name given), Worcester resident, spoke concerning item #3a
9. Sandy Lashin-Curewitz, Worcester resident, spoke concerning item #3a
10. Jenny Rodriguez, Worcester resident, spoke concerning item #3a
11. Michael Madden, Worcester resident, spoke concerning item #3a
12. Lynn Norris, Worcester resident, spoke concerning item #3a
13. Shaun Bartone, Worcester resident, spoke concerning item #3a
14. Sean Dacey, Worcester resident, spoke concerning item #3a
15. Jennifer Mattson, Worcester resident, spoke concerning item #3a
16. Patience Miller, Worcester resident, spoke concerning item #3a
17. Ambrose D., Worcester resident, spoke concerning item #3a

2.

Approval of the Minutes

2a.

Order - That the City Council Standing Committee of Public Service and Transportation hereby approves the minutes of the Public Service and Transportation Committee meeting on May 3, 2022.

View Agenda

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

3.

Miscellaneous Items

3a.

Order of Councilor Morris A. Bergman, Councilor Donna M. Colorio, Councilor Etel Haxhijaj, Councilor Khrystian E. King, Councilor Candy Mero-Carlson, Councilor Thu Nguyen, Councilor Sarai Rivera, Councilor Sean M. Rose, Councilor George J. Russell, Councilor Kathleen M. Toomey and Mayor Joseph M. Petty - Request Standing Committee on Public Service and Transportation hold a public discussion concerning: 1) passenger usage from 2019-2022 (March); 2) funding sources available, potentially including ARPA, federal and state grants to offset zero fare; 3) bus routes as they relate to where the cityís top 10 employers are located; 4) what, if any, public input and/or marketing efforts are occurring to improve ridership; and 5) working with area colleges to determine increased consistency and improved routing around said colleges. # 12b Tuesday, April 26, 2022

In Committee May 3, 2022 - Held

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor Bergman read the item and recognized the Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA) Administrator, who discussed funding sources for WRTA operations and projects, reasons behind lack of commitment to use funding to provide fare-free operations, the development of a new payment system for the buses before the COVID-19 pandemic and reasons behind the implementation of fare-free system for public transportation in the city.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman recognized Councilor Mero-Carlson, who discussed the potential to use CARES Acts funding to provide for a fare-free system for public transportation for the next year, as well as the WRTA budget process and timeline with the WRTA Administrator and the WRTA Deputy Administrator and WRTA Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

Chairperson Councilor Bergman recognized Councilor Nguyen, who discussed the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the number of drivers and ridership with the WRTA Administrator.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman discussed the marketing campaign for the fare-free system and the effect reinstated fares could have on ridership with the WRTA Director of Marketing and Public Outreach.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman moved to recommend the item be held.

Recommend Hold

3b.

Order of Councilor Morris A. Bergman and Councilor Candy Mero-Carlson - Request Standing Committee on Public Service and Transportation Committee hold a public discussion with the WRTA Administrator relative to the removal of a bus route that passes the EcoTarium, 222 Harrington Way. # 10g CC December 20, 2022

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor Bergman read the item and recognized the WRTA Administrator, who discussed the process relative to the removal of a bus route that passes the EcoTarium, reallocation of funding to increase bus services on routes with high amount of ridership interests and plans concerning increasing weekend services.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman recognized Councilor Mero-Carlson, who discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted bus ridership and the importance of establishing a bus route passing the EcoTarium.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman recognized Councilor Nguyen, who discussed the importance of establishing communications with various stakeholders when considering the removal of a bus route as well as improving communications to the bus riders concerning the status of the buses.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman recognized the WRTA Administrator, who discussed data concerning ridership to the Ecotarium, the process relative to route modification for the buses and challenges concerning finding replacement drivers for the buses.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman recognized Councilor Nguyen, who discussed whether real-time data concerning the buses are connected to Google with the WRTA Administrator.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman recognized Councilor Mero-Carlson, who discussed the bus driver replacement system and plans concerning CDL program for potential bus drivers with the WRTA Administrator.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman brought forth the following Chairmanís Order: Request City Manager communicate with the Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA) Administrator to determine actions the city can take to help facilitate the hiring of additional drivers for the WRTA.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman moved to recommend the item be filed.

Recommend File

Chairman's Orders

Request City Manager communicate with the Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA) Administrator to determine actions the city can take to help facilitate the hiring of additional drivers for the WRTA.

3c.

Order of Councilor Sarai Rivera and Councilor Khrystian E. King - Request Standing Committee on Public Service and Transportation meet with the WRTA Administrator to provide City Council with a report concerning the WRTAís winter weather plan, especially including information as to how snow will be removed at each of the bus stops. # 10i CC December 20, 2022

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor Bergman read the item and recognized the City Solicitor, who discussed the sidewalk snow removal ordinance and the lack of a clause within the ordinance providing for any obligation to clear snow at bus stops.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman recognized the WRTA Administrator, who discussed the number of bus stops and bus shelters in the city, snow removal operations for the bus stops and the WRTAíS customer service operations.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman recognized Councilor Nguyen, who discussed plans concerning the installation of additional bus shelters in the city and trash collection at bus stops with the WRTA Administration and the Commissioner of Public Works and Parks.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman brought forth the following Chairmanís Order: Request City Manager provide City Council with a report concerning the feasibility of adding trash receptacles and providing for trash collection in the vicinity of bus shelters.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman recognized Councilor Mero-Carlson, who discussed bus shelters that are not owned by the WRTA with the Commissioner of Transportation and Mobility.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman brought forth the following Chairmanís Order: Request City Manager request Director of Transportation and Mobility work with the WRTA Administrator to provide City Council with an inventory of bus shelters in the city, including shelters that are owned by the WRTA, by the city and by private entities.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman recognized the WRTA Advisory Board Vice Chairman, who spoke concerning the item.

Chairperson Councilor Bergman moved to recommend the item be filed.

Recommend File

Chairman's Orders

Request City Manager provide City Council with a report concerning the feasibility of adding trash receptacles and providing for trash collection in the vicinity of bus shelters.

Request City Manager request Director of Transportation and Mobility work with the WRTA Administrator to provide City Council with an inventory of bus shelters in the city, including shelters that are owned by the WRTA, by the city and by private entities.