|Oh no, the destination board is off!|
|What a beautiful day!|
|Crossing the Charles...again.|
We eventually reached Watertown Square, which is a major bus transfer point. There were lots of businesses here, and Arsenal Street became Main Street. The businesses went on for a little while past the square, now with parking lots, but after that it became residential. The surroundings were mostly dense houses with the occasional business.
As we were passing a park, we entered Waltham. The houses became a little further apart, then we crossed over the Commuter Rail tracks. It was commercial on the other side, with retail lining the road. At Central Square, Waltham, we looped around the common to serve the Commuter Rail station.
|A view of Waltham Common.|
|A different bus waiting to make the big loop.|
|Wait for me! This was later in the day, and I took some other buses between the 70 and the 70A.|
At a shopping plaza, we turned onto Lake Street, where the houses were more dense. We also went by a park and a few businesses along this section. Lake Street became Lincoln Street, and we passed some big office parks. We turned onto Smith Street, then onto Trapelo Road.
It was residential, at least until we reached Lexington Street. Here there were businesses with big parking lots, and when we turned onto that street, the surroundings became housing complexes. We passed a shopping plaza (the Wal-Lex Shopping Center, being near the border of Waltham and Lexington), then turned onto Lake Street again.
|And the sun sets over the highway...|
|Crossing over the Charles into Cambridge.|
|The bus continuing on to University Park.|
Ridership: These routes go down a very busy corridor, and so they get high ridership. There's no data for the separate routes in the MBTA Blue Book, but combined they get 5,255 riders per weekday, 3,894 per Saturday, and 3,455 per Sunday. On my 70 ride, there was a total of 65 people who rode, most of whom got on at Central (rather than University Park). On the 70A, meanwhile, there were about 15 people who went from Central Square, Waltham to North Waltham, and about 30 coming back to Cambridge.
Pros: These routes serve quite a lot, going straight through large parts of Waltham and Watertown. Also, in terms of general headways, the two routes are pretty good. The 70 runs every 10-15 minutes during rush hour, every 20 minutes during the day, every 35 minutes at night, every 10 minutes on Saturdays (wow), and every 20 minutes on Sundays. The 70A, meanwhile, runs every half hour during rush hour, every hour during the day, and every 35-40 minutes on Saturdays. Considering the relative lack of ridership along the 70A's figure-8, I think no night or Sunday service is okay.
Cons: So although the headways themselves are good, the way they fit together makes no sense. For one thing, the two routes aren't coordinated at all, with some 70A's arriving at Watertown at the same time as 70's. So yeah, the two routes were just kind of slapped together. The 70's Saturday schedule is questionable, too. Trips alternate between terminating at Central Square, Waltham and Cedarwood, which makes sense. However, there is again no coordination between the two. The bad coordination combined with the massive length of these routes leads to some pretty bad bunching.
Nearby and Noteworthy: I don't have anything specific, but these routes serve quite a few business centers. You've got both Central Squares, as well as the Arsenal and Watertown Malls, and Watertown Square.
Final Verdict: 6/10
There's a post on The Amateur Planner about the 70/70A and the problems that plague the routes. For a more detailed look at the cons of these buses, I recommend checking that out. As for me, I can say that the routes aren't coordinated at all, and thus have some pretty bad bunching. However, they do serve a lot, so I can't go too low with that final verdict. That said, the MBTA really needs to work on fixing these routes, because they are most certainly flawed.
Latest MBTA News: Service Updates
The MBTA is finally installing countdown clocks on the underground section of the Green Line! The ones at Kenmore are up and running, with more stations to come.