The Wave Nantucket
May 29, 2023
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The Nantucket Regional Transit Authority (NRTA) was established in 1993  and began its transportation services two years later. It is a public transport authority located on the island of Nantucket in Massachusetts, USA, and offers a range of shuttle buses and paratransit services throughout the year. The NRTA is a subdivision of the state of Massachusetts, and it is managed by the NRTA Administrator, Paula Leary, appointed by the Advisory Board. According to legislation, a disabled and rider representative from the Nantucket community must be on the NRTA Advisory Board.

The NRTA began offering seasonal fixed route services in 1995, and then, six years later, they began providing year-round demand response service too.  In 2010, the bus service was renamed The WAVE and has seen a number of changes and improvements over its 22-year history. Year-round service was fully implemented in 2018. Today, the NRTA owns a fleet of 19 fixed routes and four demand response vehicles.

By law, the NRTA contracts with VTS of MA, Inc. to operate and manage its fixed route and demand response services. The WAVE (also known as the NRTA Wave) has bright blue and white branding.

How to Ride on the WAVE

When planning your trip, take advantage of real-time data about bus locations, estimated arrivals, and possible delays here. Make sure you’re at the bus stop at least 10 minutes before the scheduled time, as buses may come sooner or later depending on the conditions. Look for designated stops marked by grey posts with blue stripes.

When riding the bus, strollers must be folded for the safety of everyone. Ensure the bus has fully stopped before getting off, and keep arms and legs inside at all times. Listen for your stop, and pull the cord above the window before you need to disembark. Before exiting, collect all your belongings. The NRTA and VTS of MA, Inc. are not responsible for any lost, stolen, or broken items. If you lose something, contact them at (508) 325-9571. If an injury occurs, report it to the driver or manager on duty and then contact the NRTA within 24 hours.

The Greyhound Building, situated by the downtown bus stop at 10 Washington Street, offers a cozy and comfortable spot to relax, with air conditioning and heating. Besides that, public restrooms, water, a change machine, and free Wi-Fi are all available. Moreover, you can request help from WAVE Information Aides. The Greenhound Building is open every day, though hours may shift without prior notice.


Passengers with disabilities have the opportunity to request modifications to their service. For more information, check here. 

All WAVE vehicles are fully equipped with wheelchair lifts, and rides for ADA complementary paratransit can be arranged the day before your trip or up to two weeks in advance. For more information, please click the link.

Customers with mobility aids such as wheelchairs and scooters must ensure that these devices are securely placed in the designated area on the bus. For passengers with disabilities, trained animals are always allowed to travel with them, provided they are controlled.

Policies and  Bus Etiquette

When riding the bus, certain policies and etiquette must be followed. Do your best to make sure that the bus is a comfortable and safe space for everyone. Follow these simple policies and etiquette to ensure everyone has a pleasant ride. Respect the other passengers and the driver, and the bus ride will be a good experience.

  • All passengers must pay a fare or use a valid pass on boarding NRTA vehicles. Passes that are expired or invalid will not be accepted, and misuse of passes will lead to confiscation by the driver and revocation by the NRTA.
  • All passengers must dress appropriately, with shirts and footwear, while on the buses. Wet bathing suits and towels are not allowed on the seats.
  • Smoking of any kind is strictly prohibited on all NRTA vehicles.
  • Eating and drinking, as well as chewing gum, is not permitted.
  • Leashed or caged animals, in animal carry cases, are allowed on vehicles, provided they are under the control of the passenger. Animals are not allowed in seats. Trained service animals accompanying individuals with disabilities may board vehicles so long as they remain under the control of the passenger.
  • Passengers are not permitted to board NRTA vehicles wearing rollerblades.
  • NRTA has the authority to deny service when a person behaves in a violent, exceedingly disruptive, or unlawful manner or poses a direct danger to the safety of other people.
  • When disembarking, be sure to take all of your belongings with you.


The Nantucket Regional Transportation Authority (NRTA) meticulously plans its routes and timetables up to one year in advance. Service is unavailable on Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.

Stops & Route Information

For fares, dates, and all stops along a route, simply click on each Rout below. All the routes are the Miacomet Loop, Mid Island Loop, Madaket Route, Sconset via Old South Road Route, Airport Route, Sconset via Milestone Road Route, Jetties Beach Route, Surfside Beach Route, and Sconset via Polpis Road Route.

2023 Wave Quick Reference – it’s the guide you need for schedules, fares, multi-ride passes, and bus routes.

Special Services

The Nantucket Regional Transit Authority offers year-round transportation to persons with disabilities and the elderly under the name “Your Island Ride.” Paratransit services are available to those unable to use the regular bus service. To access these services, clients must meet ADA eligibility guidelines. For more info, please click here. You can reserve rides for their ADA complementary paratransit service up to two weeks in advance or the day before your trip.

Island Ride van service offers both ADA and Non-ADA services for elders aged 60 and over and those living with disabilities – their service runs from Monday to Friday, 8 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon.

NRTA must be informed 24 hours in advance when a trip has been canceled, but passengers must give at least two hours notice. If the driver turns up for a planned collection and the customer fails to cancel it, it will be categorized as a ‘no-show.’ Regular no-shows may result in the suspension of service.


Fares are simple to understand when you ride THE WAVE buses. For just $2.00, you can enjoy a ride on the Mid-Island Loop, Miacomet Loop, or Jetties Beach. If you’re looking for a longer trip, choose the Madaket Route, Sconset Route, Airport Route, or Surfside Beach for $3.00.

No matter what fare you choose, you can rest assured that all buses are equipped with electronic fareboxes. Make sure to always have the exact fare when boarding so you don’t have to ask the driver for change. Drivers are not allowed to handle fares and will not make changes. Instead, you’ll receive a change card that can be used for future rides only and expires at the year’s end.

Passes are available to take you on hop-on adventures aboard any Bus. Choose from a 1-day cost of $8, 3-day is $18, and 7-day – $30 passes that provide unlimited rides for your selected duration. Keep in mind that fares are non-refundable.

For those 65 or older, individuals with disabilities, veterans, and active military personnel, you can take advantage of half fare – just inform the driver when you board. And kids six and under ride free, with an accompanying adult paying passenger.

Attract new customers and get the word out about your business by advertising on the WAVE! You can see your message from January 1st to December 31st – summer season advertising, running from mid-May to Columbus Day. The NRTA has advertising space available on all WAVE vehicles, so don’t miss out on this great opportunity! For more information, check here.

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