Photo: A new proposed MBTA bus route could be up and running in Belmont one year from now
The MBTA is proposing a new bus route for Belmont – dubbed the 54 – that bisects the town from Waverley Square via Belmont Center as it heads to Arlington as part of its long-awaited Bus Network Redesign project.
With greater Boston undergoing shifts in demographics, changing employment districts, and increased traffic congestion, “the Bus Network Redesign completely reimagines the MBTA’s bus network to reflect these changes and create a better experience for current and future bus riders,” according to the website announcing the initiative on Monday, May 16.
The proposed Route 54 – which replaces parts of the existing 67, 505, 554 and 558 routes – will run from Arlington Center via Belmont and Waltham Center to the MBTA’s Green Line D Riverside Station in Newton. The bus will enter Belmont at Lexington Street, travel to Waverley Square then head up Trapelo Road onto Waverley Street. It will turn onto Common Street and travel under the commuter rail bridge into Belmont Center on Leonard Street. It will make a right on Pleasant Street and proceed to Arlington Center.
It will run on the half-hour “or better” from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. If the demand is there, service could begin as early as 5 a.m. and as late as 1 a.m.
The changes will also include the elimination of the 74 line that runs from Belmont Center to Harvard Square via Fresh Pond. To compensate for the loss of the route, the 75 line – which also runs from Belmont Center to Harvard Square but on a more elongated path – will see more late-night and Sunday service.
The popular 73 line – which the MBTA calls one of 30 “high-frequency” bus routes in the new system – from Waverley to Harvard Square will remain unchanged. The 78 line, which travels on Blanchard Road and Brighton Street, will see trips reduced from one every 30 minutes to once an hour. And the 78 and 62 lines will no longer travel on Hinkley Way and Frontage Road while the 76 line will continue on its familiar route to Alewife.
At Monday’s announcement, Kat Benesh, the T’s Chief of Operations Strategy, Policy & Oversight, said the initial route changes from the new bus network would begin “no sooner than spring or summer 2023.”