Sunday, July 12, 2015

29 (Mattapan Station - Jackson Square Station via Seaver Street and Columbus Ave)

Of the four routes from Mattapan to the Orange Line, the 29 is probably the weirdest. It runs alongside other routes for almost its entire run, and has an odd scheduling quirk that I'll get to later. I guess it's just meant to supplement other routes, but my ride on it was pretty interesting...

Of course the driver decided to change the destination board after we left.
As we were leaving Mattapan, I came to the horrifying realization that a hornet was on the bus. I had no idea how it got on, but it was at least an inch long and I was terrified. Trying to keep myself composed, I debated calling the trip off. After all, I had done a bunch of routes that day, and losing one wasn't the end of the world. But no, I thought. It's my duty to take the 29, hornet or not! That said, I was very tense, and WHY WAS NOBODY ELSE NOTICING THE BUG???

Well, someone finally did notice when we got to the next stop. A woman got on and was walking toward the back when she saw the hornet. Suddenly she SCREAMED at the top of her lungs and ran toward the last row. "I'm scared of bugs!" She shouted. No one really did anything, including the driver. The bus just kind of sat there while more oblivious people got on.

The hornet then decided to go to the back as well, which caused the woman to scream again and run for the front. "It's following me, I swear!" She yelled. Finally, the driver did something about it. He grabbed a piece of paper, got up on the driver's seat, and swatted the bug out the front door. It was very heroic, and I was silently thanking him.

After that scare, we continued up Blue Hill Ave, going by the businesses of Mattapan Square. Once we crossed over the Fairmount Line tracks, it got residential, with dense houses lining the street. There was the occasional business, though, and after we crossed Morton Street, there was lots of retail.

Eventually, we turned onto Westview Street. This is the 29's only unique section, and it's a diversion to serve the Franklin Field Housing. We went by Harambee Park, then turned onto Ames Street, going by lots of identical apartments. The street ended in a dead end, where the driver had to awkwardly turn the bus around. To add insult to injury, no one got on or off during this section.

Harambee Park, which will be a tennis venue should Boston 2024 happen.
We headed back to Blue Hill Ave and continued going by more businesses. Eventually we reached Franklin Park, going by the zoo of the same name. After that, we turned onto Seaver Street, going by some fairly tall apartments. Well, tall as in three to four stories. There was an actually tall apartment building at Egleston Square, and it looked out of place.

There were a few businesses here as Seaver Street became Columbus Ave. However, it went back to apartments soon after. Eventually, we turned into the Jackson Square busway and the bus got ready to go back to Mattapan.

A different 29 at Jackson Square.
Route: 29 (Mattapan Station - Jackson Square Station via Seaver Street and Columbus Ave)

Ridership: There were about 30 people on my ride. And one hornet. Most people just used the route for local service, though the hornet got kicked off the bus for causing trouble. Overall the 29 gets pretty good ridership, with 2,178 riders per weekday and 552 per Saturday. That second one may not seem like a lot, but it's actually not bad, considering the route's Saturday schedule. You'll see.

Pros: The route is a good supplement to the 22 (from Jackson Square to Seaver Street) and the 28 (from Seaver Street to Mattapan). Both of those are Key Bus Routes, so the 29 is just kind of a combination of parts of their routes.

Cons: This route has a weird schedule, so I'll just go through it here. It runs about every 15 minutes during rush hour (which is great), but then jumps to every 70 minutes during the day. It actually runs more frequently at night, every 25-35 minutes. And as for Saturday? Well, it has the same headways as the night schedule, but that's because it only runs at night on Saturdays! That's such a weird thing - I really don't understand that.

Nearby and Noteworthy: Aside from the zoo, we went by a fair amount of businesses. As usual, I don't know anything specific.

Final Verdict: 7/10
You know, I could get into a big rant about the mostly limited schedule. But honestly, this route is just a supplement - the 29 runs alongside Key Bus Routes for its entire duration. Well, except for the Franklin Field deviation, which honestly feels like a waste of time to me. It takes a really long time for buses to turn around there, and the housing is in close walking distance to two other bus routes. So, as a standalone route, the 29 isn't the best. But as a supplement...well, it's a fine supplement, indeed.

Latest MBTA News: Service Updates

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