Going Nowhere: How to Fix the Painful Worcester-Boston Commute

Editor’s note: Look for more stories in NBC10 Boston’s “Going Nowhere” series Thursday at 4, 5, 6 and 11 p.m.

If your daily commute takes you from Worcester to Boston and back again, you know how painful it can be. One bad crash on the Massachusetts Turnpike can back things up for miles.

An average commute from Worcester to Boston can take well over an hour, according to The Research Bureau.

"We've seen a big uptick in people recently who move from Boston to Worcester because it is less expensive, but their job might still be in Boston," said Tom Quinn, who works for The Research Bureau. "But that means there is more traffic heading east."

The Research Bureau recently provided a report highlighting Worcester's transportation needs.

"We can't keep relying on just the road network," explained Quinn. "The Pike is great, but it's not going to sustain us for the next 50 years."

And it's not just our roadways. Trains are busy, too.

The MBTA said in 2012, there were just over 12,700 passengers a day on the Worcester Line. In 2018, that number jumped to more than 18,600. There are seven inbound and seven outbound trains daily, one being an express from Worcester to Boston.

"The problem is, it gets into South Station too late. It gets in after 9 a.m. and comes back to Worcester close to 9 p.m.," said Quinn.

Right now, only one train can enter Union Station at a time. Work is underway to add a second commuter rail platform. MBTA officials say that will help to expand service.

Tim Murray, the CEO of the Worcester Chamber, supports a push to add up to 30 trains over the next five to 10 years. He says that transportation is key to continuing the city's economic momentum and points to growth at Worcester Regional Airport.

"This can be a pressure valve, if you will, that we can bring new airlines, serve and grow in the region... reduce the need for people to have to go into Logan," said Murray.

There are now three airlines that service Worcester, and the airport is hoping to attract more.

"What we're looking for is to increase the frequency with existing airlines and bring in more airlines," said Andy Davis, Worcester Regional Airport's director.

The end goal is to improve transportation to and from the state's second largest city.

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