The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has awarded $250,000 to the City of Newton to launch a shuttle system between three mass transit lines (Newtonville, Needham Heights, Newton Highlands) and the Wells Avenue business district area, which includes the Mount Ida Campus of UMass Amherst.
The shuttle could be on the road by this fall, Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller wrote in announcing the grant.
“We will offer affordable, reliable, sustainable, convenient, shared first mile/last mile transportation,” Fuller said. “We hope that the service will allow many of the 7,000 employees who live in proximity to these MBTA lines and work or go to school in the Wells Avenue area will take advantage of this option for using public transportation to commute.”
The grant will require additional financial support from the businesses in the N2 Innovation District in the form of a matching contribution.
Fuller said she was grateful to the Newton-Needham Regional Chamber, the Mount Ida Campus of UMass Amherst, William James College, the JCC Greater Boston and Jumbo Capital Management for their commitment to support this pilot. This is truly a for-profit, non-profit and government sector (State and City) partnership.
She said the next step is to go out to bid for a company to operate the shuttle.
Fuller also announced that Newton, Watertown and two other municipalities received $340,000 grant to expand the Bluebikes bike share program to the city.
Bluebikes is already operates in Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Somerville and Everett. Newton’s share of the grant is $80,000 grant will be matched with $20,000 of city funds to provide five to be determined docking stations. Bluebikes replaces Lime Bikes, the dockless bike share that recently pulled out of Newton and another 15 cities and towns after it moved its business model primarily to scooters.