Sunday, November 29, 2015

24 (Wakefield Ave and Truman Highway - Mattapan or Ashmont Station via River Street)

A little while back, I reviewed the 33, which runs from Mattapan Station to Dedham Line, via River Street. I wasn't a very big fan of that route. Now we'll be looking at the 33's companion along River Street, the 24, which goes to Fairmount. Does it stack up more favorably than the 33? Let's find out.

Wooooooah, that's a weird angle!
Leaving the busway at Mattapan, we looped around onto River Street. We avoided the main drag of Mattapan Square, however, by simply continuing straight on the same street. Leaving Mattapan's businesses behind, River Street was mostly lined with dense houses.

Crossing over the Fairmount Line.
Eventually, the road went onto a bridge, going over the Fairmount Line. On the other side, we passed a shopping plaza. then it got a bit industrial. There were auto shops and empty plots of land lining the street for a little while. It got residential after that, though, with individual houses, as well as a few apartments.

A clock tower in Logan Square.
Eventually, the street became lined with businesses as we entered Logan Square. This was where we split from the 33, turning onto Fairmount Ave. After passing some more retail, we went up onto a bridge, crossing over Fairmount Station, then the Neponset River.

This wasn't taken from the bus, but here's the Neponset River, seen from Fairmount Ave.
Now we came to the main part of the 24, which is a loop around a neighborhood of Hyde Park. It was very local and very twisty, and it started right when we left the bridge. Turning onto Beacon Street, we rose up a steep hill with houses on either side of the road. At the top, we turned onto Metropolitan Ave, passing the small Boston Baptist College.

Looking down a side street.
We then turned onto Summit Street, going into Milton for the very briefest of moments before returning to Hyde Park. From there, we turned onto Milton Ave, which had no sidewalk and more spread-out houses. Once we were on Highland Street, though, the houses were denser again.

Another side street.
The road made a few sharp twists, becoming Pond Street in the process. Reaching the end of that street, we turned onto Williams Ave, then Summit Street again, passing the Boston Police Academy. This road changed names twice as we went along, becoming Washington Street, then Wakefield Ave.

A nice-looking park.
Around that last name change, we went by a school on one side and a park on the other. We then turned onto Truman Highway, reaching a shelter. Right across the street from a small shopping plaza, this was the last stop of the route.

The bus further down Truman Highway.
But even though that was the last stop, there is a little more to the loop. Continuing down Truman Highway, there are parks on either side of the street, then one side becomes lined with houses. It continues like this until Fairmount Ave, which the bus turns onto in order to get back to Mattapan.

The bus getting ready to turn onto Fairmount Ave.
Route: 24 (Wakefield Ave and Truman Highway - Mattapan or Ashmont Station via River Street)

Ridership: The 24 has significantly higher ridership than the 33, with an average of 1,730 riders per weekday (compared to 1,246 for the latter). On weekends, when combined with the 27 to Ashmont, the 24 gets 1,319 riders on Saturdays and 724 on Sundays. My ride had about 15 people in total, though a bus heading the other way looked fairly crowded. All of the riders on my bus were locals heading home, mostly around the loop.

Pros: I think that based on its ridership, the 24's schedule is good. It runs every 20 minutes during the morning rush hour and every 30 in the evening, while during the day it goes every 40-50 minutes. On nights and weekends, it combines with the 27 to Ashmont (which is another pro in itself, since it's more efficient for ridership), running every hour at night, every 40 minutes on Saturdays, and every 65 minutes on Sundays. On another note, this is a pretty niche route, making a loop around a very local neighborhood - and I like that.

Cons: On the other hand, the infrequent schedule could be annoying for locals, though I think it's not too bad. No, the thing I don't like is the way the 24's loop works. See, when it gets to Wakefield Avenue, the bus has a layover period, which seems like it would be annoying for inbound riders who got on earlier along the loop. That said, it does make it easier to schedule. Another problem I have is that there's zero coordination between the 24 and the 33, meaning bunching - sometimes even scheduled bunching - along River Street.

Nearby and Noteworthy: There are lots of businesses at Cleary and Logan Squares, which are right next to each other. The 24 directly serves Logan, while Cleary is only a few blocks away.

Final Verdict: 7/10
The 33 got a 5 and the 27 got an 8, so I figured I'd slot the 24 in the middle. On the one hand, it's better than the 33 because it actually gets Sunday service, though the two routes do have that bunching issue. On the other hand, the 24 does have that weird quirk with the loop scheduling. And I know the layover period is probably good for keeping buses on time, but I can see it being annoying for locals using the bus.

Latest MBTA News: Service Updates

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