|The bus at the roofless Forest Hills busway.|
Merging onto South Street, we then curved into Belgrade Ave, passing the Roslindale Village Commuter Rail station. Running with the 36 and 37, the street was lined with apartments and houses, with a few businesses at an intersection with Walworth Street. There were some more businesses near Bellevue Station, but they were significantly less interesting than the previous retail block.
Luckily, once Belgrade Ave curved north and crossed the Commuter Rail tracks, there were some more noteworthy businesses. Here, we turned onto Centre Street, which continued to be lined with retail. This went on for a while, basically until the intersection with LaGrange Street, where the 37 left us. Soon after, we passed a church, and then the 36 turned off onto Spring Street, leaving us alone.
Centre Street was now entirely residential, but it felt really nice and suburban, with small houses lining the street. We did go by a nursing home at one point, and there was an industrial section later on where Centre Street turned right, avoiding a huge quarry. The houses continued past there, including when we turned onto the even smaller and more local Stimson Street.
But these lovely houses would end soon enough, as we reached the behemoth known as Washington Street. The wide road had a median in the middle, but after some suburban businesses with big parking lots, it too became residential. That didn't last for too long, though, as we soon entered the huge Dedham Mall complex, letting the remaining passengers off for some late shopping.
|You can see what I mean by "late" shopping. It was dark by the time we got to the mall!|
Ridership: In terms of the Belgrade Avenue buses, the 35 is right in the middle. It's not as busy as the 36, but not as quiet as the 37. To be more specific, it gets 2,422 riders per weekday, 1,142 per Saturday, and a measly 471 per Sunday. It has to be said, though, that the Belgrade Ave corridor is quite busy on weekdays if you add up the ridership for all three of its routes, so I would imagine that this bus is crowded during rush hour. My particular trip had about 15 people on a Saturday, but it was in the late afternoon.
Pros: Since the Belgrade Avenue corridor is one of the busiest on the MBTA (its three routes add up to just shy of the 77's ridership on weekdays), this route is mainly to serve that. However, it goes above and beyond its jurisdiction by also serving a bunch of houses along Centre Street, plus the huge Dedham Mall.
Cons: Unfortunately, its schedule is a bit flimsy. Rush hour service is fantastic, with every 11-15 minute service, and Saturdays are okay, with every 35 minute headways. However, on weekdays, it's every 40 minutes, and every hour nights and Sundays (with only 10 trips each direction during the latter). Also, all trips before around 9 AM are truncated before the mall, but there should be at least one rush hour run to get mall workers to their jobs.
Nearby and Noteworthy: You guys all know my opinions on malls, so I'm just gonna keep the terminus of this route out of the equation. However, it still goes by a lot of businesses, particularly along the Centre Street section shared with the 36 and 37, as well as good ol' Roslindale.
Final Verdict: 6/10
This may not be the fastest route to the Dedham Mall (the 34E claims that title), but people still use it to get to there. Thus, I wish the Sunday schedule was less limited, and that there was at least one rush hour trip that helped mall workers out. Other than that, this is a fine route that serves a decent amount and gets good ridership, especially during rush hour. I just wish it could run more often outside of those times.
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