Local leaders celebrate as MWRTA launches Hudson Catch Connect service

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Local leaders celebrate as MWRTA launches Hudson Catch Connect service
Local officials gathered last month to celebrate the launch of Hudson’s new Catch Connect shuttle program. (Photo/Dakota Antelman)

HUDSON – Community members in Hudson and Marlborough now have a new weekend travel option thanks to a new curb-to-curb microtransit program.

Launched last month, leaders hope the effort will make downtown Hudson in particular more accessible by public transit while improving equity for those needing easy access to larger public transit networks.

“The expansion of public transportation in downtown Hudson really completes the economic renaissance vision that we have,” Hudson Director of Planning and Community Development Kristina Johnson said at a ribbon cutting event last month.

Program draws on ARPA funds

Funded using federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money, the Catch Connect program links Hudson to downtown Marlborough with a service somewhat similar to common ridesharing apps like Uber or Lyft.

Gathering at that ribbon cutting on June 7, state, local and federal leaders all touted this work.

“We believe this is an incredible investment for the town,” State Rep. Kate Hogan said. “It is Hudson moving forward with public transportation.”

Catch Connect runs on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., letting users use an app to book a trip on a van to a location of their choice within Hudson and parts of Marlborough.

The service is run through the MetroWest Regional Transit Authority (MWRTA), mirroring similar Catch Connect programs in Wellesley, Framingham and Natick. It then links into the MWRTA’s core fixed-route bus network in Marlborough.

“It’s going to help ease stress for families in Hudson who can finally rely on affordable, on demand ADA-accessible public transportation in their town,” US. Rep. Lori Trahan said on June 7.

MWRTA grows

The MWRTA has been in existence for over 15 years. Hudson only became a member in 2014, though, adding transit service the following year when legislators were able to allocate money for a two-hour fixed bus route known as “the Hudson Shuttle.”

The route eventually expanded into more full-fledged service.

Now seven years later, the MWRTA has continued to grow in step with meteoric development of Hudson’s cultural and business stock.

That is a win for local leaders involved in recent work around the business community.

For legislators, meanwhile, the ability to bring ARPA money into town for public transit purposes was a win for collaboration.

“Hudson is really smart and Hudson town hall and Hudson planners and Hudson town managers all know that as we grow, we need to grow public transportation as well,” Hogan said.

“Tireless advocacy in earmarking this funding is why we’re here this morning,” Trahan said, crediting Hogan and her Hudson municipal counterparts with securing money within broader ARPA allocations.

Catch Connect shuttle services are now in operation.

Learn more at https://www.mwrta.com/routes/catch.

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