GATRA GO

GATRA is earmarked to receive $215,488 to expand its microtransit pilot program, GATRA GO.

The Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority has garnered its second sizable state grant in a little over a month.

GATRA is earmarked to receive $215,488 to expand its microtransit pilot program, called GATRA GO.

Microtransit is an on-demand service that allows transit riders to request a vehicle to pick them up and drop them off where needed. GATRA GO  complements fixed-route bus service in the Route 1, 140 and 106 corridors, which include parts of Mansfield, Plainville and Foxboro.

The shuttle service runs Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. To request a pick-up, riders can download the Transloc mobile app on their smartphone or dial 508-697-1911.

GATRA recently announced an extension of the program for an additional 18 months as a result of the its success in the region.

Since its launch, the service has completed hundreds of rides, with more than a third of them dropping riders off at local train stations, according to a news release announcing the funding.

Announced this week, the funding is part of a $4.2 million disbursement from the state's Workforce Transportation Grant Program.

The grants are a result of a recommendation in the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) 2019 Congestion Report to encourage employers to create innovative solutions to help employees  commute to work by using public or shared transportation.

The 23 competitive grants will go to 21 groups, including Regional Transit Authorities (RTA), municipalities, Transportation Management Associations (TMA), business organizations and others that have demonstrated an intention to shift commuters from single-occupancy vehicles to other modes of transportation.

The goal is to alleviate roadway congestion and reduce emissions from the transportation sector.

“What is needed is more commuting options, more transit, more employer shuttles, more ‘first mile, last mile’ services to connect people to workplaces and job centers,” Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack said.

MassDOT in early January announced $3.5 million in grants for Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs) across the state, including GATRA, for innovative services to benefit customers.

GATRA's grant of $217,200 is intended for its Mansfield/Foxboro microtransit pilot extension.

The Baker Administration has filed an $18 billion Transportation Bond Bill which, in part, would provide funding to encourage and support more transit options statewide. One section in the bond bill filed last summer authorizes $330 million in capital support for the 15 Regional Transit Authorities (RTA) to invest in fleets and facilities. The bill also includes a new $50 million Transit Infrastructure Partnership Program which would provide grants to enable transit authorities and municipalities to work together to provide bus lanes, transit signal priority and other infrastructure to keep buses moving.

The MBTA has 10 miles of dedicated bus lanes in its system, and expects to expand bus-only lanes by many more miles.

Stephen Peterson can be reached at 508-236-0377.

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