Lexpress was created in 1979 by a group of dedicated residents in partnership with the MBTA to reach parts of the community that the MBTA could not get to. It was one of the first community bus services in the country. Lexpress was designed as a "coverage" system (as opposed to a "ridership" system), meaning that with a small fleet of buses, it could cover all of Lexington. When it first started, it was a 4 bus, 8-route system allowing every Lexington resident or employee an option for public transportation within a 1/4-1/2 mile of their home or destination. That said, coverage systems do not have some advantages that ridership systems do, namely better frequency and directness. Lexpress routes have traditionally operated once per hour, and in FY2016, in the afternoons, this was further reduced to every hour ten minutes given increasing traffic, reduced bus fleet and more places Lexpress needed to travel to. While the hours, days of service, and vehicles for Lexpress have been reduced over the years, it remains a vital transportation service for many seeking to get in, out, or around Town including adults that need to get to/from the MBTA, seniors needing to get to medical appointments or to shopping, and students who see after school transportation.
Fun Fact: Lexpress was an early adopter of Google Transit, even beating the MBTA to such integration! You can still find Lexpress on Google Transit, and we are also now on the app TRANSIT, and have a more Lexpress-specific app which you can download for free called Ride Systems.
Lexpress currently runs Monday through Friday from 6:35AM – 6:30PM during the school year, and from 7:00AM – 6:30PM during July and August. The service consists of three, 23 seat buses assigned to two, 30-35 minute routes each. Each of the six routes begins and ends in Depot Square to facilitate transferring, and provide access to the amenities located in Lexington Town Center, including both MBTA buses (#62 & #76) and the REV Alewife Shuttle. Lexpress also goes to Burlington allowing employees and/or shoppers the ability to get to Middlesex Commons, H-Mart, Burlington Mall, Barnes & Noble, etc. Lexpress also goes to Arlington Heights busway at peak-times, allowing riders the ability to connect to/from other services such as the #77, #78, or #79.
The Town of Lexington Transportation Services Division, which moved to Human Services in 2013, oversees Lexpress operations, in addition to educating people on other transportation services, serving as a liaison to the MBTA, offer Charlie Cards and Senior Charlie Card and MBTA Youth Pass sign-ups, and more. (Please note our office cannot distribute Student Charlie Cards. Those can only be obtained at middle and high schools.) This department is also engaged in regional transportation initiatives to enhance transportation options for all, regardless of age, income or mobility.
General Lexpress policies including routes, schedules, and fares are guided by a resident Transportation Advisory Committee with final approval by the Select Board. The Town contracts the buses and drivers through a competitive bid process. The current contractor is M&L Transit Systems located in Woburn, MA.
Who Rides Lexpress?
Lexpress is a public bus open to people of all ages. It is wheelchair accessible with room for two wheelchairs, and each bus has capacity for two bikes on bike racks in front of the vehicle.
Who rides Lexpress? While we don't know the story of everyone on the bus, here are some common reasons we hear people ride:
- It is the only form of transportation in their area. (For example, those working or living in the area of Concord & Waltham have no other public transportation to that area, home health workers that use it to get to their employers, and folks who work at Market Basket, the Mall, Brookhaven, etc.)
- Senior citizens who do not drive, or for whom walking to the MBTA would be too far.
- Students who are not allowed to bring instruments on school buses, who stay after school for activities, who have parents that live in two different locations and thus have to commute different ways to/from school, students that have to get to school early, students that have to stay late, students in high school that have "free blocks" and thus don't start and end at the time the school buses are scheduled, students who have after school jobs or aother activities and appointments.
- The schools use Lexpress for several of their programs: Intensive Learning Program, Developmental Learning Program, and LABBB. Students in these programs use Lexpress to learn life skills and go on trips. The schools also use Lexpress for field trips for other classrooms - though Lexpress is a public bus and seats cannot be reserved.
- Visitors either from nearby towns wanting to see the sights in Lexington or those staying with friends/family who just need to get around.
- These are some of the ways Lexpress is currently used. Why do you ride? Let us know! Does Lexpress not go where you need it to? Let us know that, too! We are happy to answer any questions and hear all comments at 781-861-1210.