A little while back, I did a review of the 68 from Harvard Square to Kendall Square, via Broadway. I commented on the fact that the route doesn't have any points where it's the only option, and it gets pretty awful ridership. Proclaiming that "I honestly feel like the MBTA could scrap this route, and it wouldn't affect that many people," I gave it a 2/10. After that review, a commenter named Ari pointed out that the faithful locals who use the 68 would be up in arms if the MBTA tried to eliminate the route. That's certainly a valid point, but I still think the 68 is a bad route, and I don't regret the low score. Basically what I'm getting at is that the 18 is like the Dorchester equivalent of the 68.
|Off-center, but it's growing on me.|
|So much traffic! Those are the elevated Red Line tracks at Fields Corner up ahead.|
|This driver must've changed the destination board early, because the 18 doesn't run on this street. This is at Andrew Station.|
|That same bus heading back up Dorchester Ave.|
|Look how downtown looms! It looks really close.|
Ridership: Being the local route that it is, the 18's ridership isn't very high. There were only about 10 people on my Saturday ride. On weekdays, it only gets an average of 619 riders, and on Saturdays, only 175 - the fifth worst Saturday bus route for ridership. Like the 68, most of the riders on this route only went for a few stops.
Pros: But unlike the 68, this route does serve a lot. Sure, it more or less parallels the Red Line and goes pretty close to its stops, but it actually has some sections where it's the only option. Plus, although Broadway is a major street in Cambridge, it doesn't come close to the importance of Dot Ave. I mean, this is basically the main throughway of Dorchester, and it makes perfect sense to run a bus down it.
Cons: For one thing, I think a lot of people don't use this bus just because it comes so close to the Red Line. I mean, it directly serves Ashmont, Fields Corner, and Andrew, and comes within a few blocks of Shawmut and Savin Hill. In addition, parts of this route are just so convoluted! The 18 at Fields Corner is a mess, and it seems like it would be so much easier to just skip the Park Street busway and have it go directly into the Fields Corner busway. Also, does it really need to serve Auckland Street? I don't know if the Savin Hill Apartments is an old-age home, but if not, I think its residents can walk a block to Dorchester Ave.
Nearby and Noteworthy: Lots of businesses along Dot Ave, but I don't have anything specific.
Final Verdict: 3/10
I've been comparing the 18 to the 68 this whole review, and I do think the 18 is better. It's longer, serves more, and even runs on Saturdays! The schedule, by the way, is not great, as you'd expect - every half hour during rush hour, and every hour during the day and on Saturdays. The last bus is at about 6 PM, which is also like the 68. But I do think the MBTA should keep the 18 around, although its route is really crazy. Seriously, it's drawn as a straight line on the map! Just make the route a straight line!
Latest MBTA News: Service Updates
Governor Charlie Baker has appointed five new members to the MassDOT board after pressuring six of its seven previous members to resign. In non-MBTA news, Google Maps officially made the switch over to "The New Google Maps", and it is the slowest, most frustrating thing ever. This could mean longer wait periods between blog posts, but hopefully nothing along the lines of the horrendously long amount of time I made you guys wait before this post comes out.