Tewksbury Selectman Mark Kratman and LRTA Administrator Jim Scanlan at the new bus shelter on Livingston Street

Tewksbury Selectman Mark Kratman and LRTA Administrator Jim Scanlan at the new bus shelter on Livingston Street. The LRTA is announcing new Sunday bus service as part of a pilot program to help increase ridership. The new routes help residents reach a wide variety of shopping and health venues in the Merrimack Valley. (Paige Impink photo)

The Lowell Regional Tran­sit Authority announced this week that Sunday bus service will soon be available. LRTA representatives recently met at the newly installed bus shelter on Livingston Street in Tewks­bury to discuss the en­hanced service. “Sunday service will start June 16, and is part of a nine-month pilot” said Jim Scanlan, the LRTA’s Administrator. “We were able to secure a Mass­DOT grant for regional transit authorities to develop projects to enhance ridership” said Ali Bent, Ma­nager of Planning and Grants Administration. The LRTA runs bus service through Tewksbury to many key destinations for residents such as the Bur­ling­ton Mall, Lahey Clinic, Mar­ket Basket, the Drum Hill area in Chelmsford and the Wilmington Commuter Rail station, for example. “The weekends are a time when people can get out and do some shopping and ridership in Tewksbury really increases” said Tom Hen­derson, procurement manager. ‘We really want people to be aware of our new Sunday service and get out and use it” Henderson said. Ten routes are being offered during the Sunday pilot, including Belvidere, Drum Hill, UMass North, Dracut/Tyngsbor­ough, Tewks­bury Route 38, Bil­ler­ica, Burling­ton Mall/Lahey Clinic, and Chelms­ford and Westford routes. Riders can even get over to Kimball Farm in Westford through a connection in Lowell and enjoy an outing.

The LRTA is one of 15 re­gional transportation agencies in Massachusetts. With a fleet of 50 vehicles, including 10 brand new ultra clean diesel buses (and more on the way), the LRTA is accessible and comfortable to ride. Public transportation is an important way to improve the environment, reduce traf­fic and provide a lifeline to those without vehicles of their own or the ability to drive. “Many of our connections are through the Ken­nedy Transportation Center in Lowell” said Henderson, “so you can get to a very wide area of places with our system”. The LRTA website has an online trip planner which helps residents and potential riders figure out the best route to take to get to their destination, and also has a GPS tracker and app so users can see when a bus is coming or plan their trip easily. Selectman Mark Krat­man represents Tewks­bury on the LRTA Advisory Board and is a big proponent of the service. “Some residents can go to church now, or get to the store on a Sunday when they might not have otherwise been able to go” said Kratman. “This is good for the residents, gets cars off our roads, and it is good for economic development” he said. For more information about the LRTA and to view the new Sunday bus routes and schedule, visit www.lrta.com/sched­ules.

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