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Newton mayor ‘frustrated’ over pace of 52 bus route’s return to service

Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller is criticizing the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s pace of resuming service along the 52 bus route in the city, and for not committing to returning the line to pre-pandemic levels, according to a statement.

The transit agency recently notified the city that it will resume some service on the suspended 52 bus route, Fuller said in the statement, which was released April 22. The bus operates across Newton and connects Watertown with Dedham.

“While this is encouraging news, we are still frustrated that this new schedule won’t begin again until at least June 20, too late for our students who use the bus to get to school,” Fuller said. “In addition, the MBTA has not committed to returning the service to pre-pandemic levels, citing staffing shortages.”

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In December, the Globe reported on MBTA cutbacks on service in Newton, which were opposed by residents and elected officials, including Fuller.

Those service changes eliminated the 52 and 505 bus routes, Fuller said at the time, consolidated the 501, 502, 503, and 504 routes, and reduced the length of the 553, 554, 556, and 558 routes.

In her April statement, Fuller said the city has not heard whether the MBTA would restore service on Newton’s express bus routes.

The mayor has also criticized reductions in service to the commuter rail in Newton that meant trains skipped the three Newton stops during several hours of the morning and afternoon, Fuller said.

The mayor said the MBTA has launched a new free “Newton Connection RailBus” that has stops at the MBTA stations in Newton Highlands, Newtonville, West Newton, Auburndale, and Riverside, along with Wellesley Farms.

“The Newton Connection RailBus is intended to help connect people to the Green Line when the trains aren’t stopping at our commuter rail stations,” Fuller said.

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John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com.