Sunday, January 25, 2015

75 (Belmont Center - Harvard Station via Concord Ave)

I think buses look amazing in the snow. It's a shame, then, that on a snowy day I had to wait for the 75 in the underground Harvard busway. That said, I'd much rather wait for the bus in a tunnel rather than a sign out in the middle of nowhere, especially if it's snowing. So it's a mixed bag, I suppose.

The dark, wet busway.
Leaving the tunnel, we headed up Garden Street, going by the Cambridge Common. We then turned onto Concord Ave, passing houses and apartments, then a big laboratory. There were some businesses after that, and then closely spaced houses. We passed the Tobin School, and after that we left the 74 and 78 by turning onto Fresh Pond Parkway.

Fresh Pond can barely be seen between the trees.
The bus runs express along this section. Fresh Pond Parkway has Fresh Pond and parkland on one side (looks like they gave the road a fitting name), while car dealerships and gas stations linger on the other. We went by the Cambridge water works, and turned onto Huron Ave soon after. Running with the 72 for a few blocks before it turned onto Aberdeen Ave, we were solo once again.

Another snowy view.
Huron Ave had houses on one side and more parkland on the other. We went by a big apartment tower ("700 Huron Ave", which appears on the route's destination boards, too), and then a cemetery. On the other side was a scenic view of the Fresh Pond Golf Course, of which I failed to get a picture. It got fully residential when we turned onto Grove Street, eventually rejoining the 74.

And yet another snowy view.
We headed up Bright Road, then turned onto Concord Ave. Once again, there were houses on one side and parkland on the other. We then passed the massive Belmont High School complex, and I got off the bus at the Commuter Rail station. From there, the route makes the same loop that the 74 does through Belmont Center.

Ugh, what an awful angle!
Route: 75 (Belmont Center - Harvard Station via Concord Ave)

Ridership: Although it was a snowy Saturday afternoon, 11 people still isn't very much. They all got on at Harvard and fed out at various points along the route. There were two other people who went all the way to Belmont Center. Looking at the charts, the 75 performs consistently badly ridership-wise no matter what day of the week it is.

Pros: This route is a fine alternative to the 74 if you're going to Belmont Center. They're coordinated most of the time, though most people got off along the 75's independent portion. It's also a surprisingly scenic ride, especially in the snow.

Cons: On its own, the 75 is every hour all through weekdays and Saturdays. Saturday evenings and Sundays it gets replaced by the 72/75, which runs every 40 minutes. I still believe that all service should be taken over by the latter, since neither the 72 nor the 75 get very high ridership alone.

Nearby and Noteworthy: Belmont Center again. See the 74 post for more information on that.

Final Verdict: 4/10
I will say that the 75 is slightly more useful than the 72, since it covers a much larger distance. Still, though, I feel that they should be merged full-time, which would be more efficient. Neither of the routes get especially high amounts of ridership, even on weekdays, so the MBTA could perhaps save some money by merging the routes.

Latest MBTA News: Service Updates

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