|The bus coming into Haymarket.|
|Still, though, can't get enough of that view!|
|What is this mysterious land???|
|A pond and a wind turbine seen from Revere Beach Parkway.|
|Well, there are those buildings wayyyyyy in the distance.|
|An abandoned piece of land.|
|A hilly dead end street.|
|The lovely Flax Pond.|
|A hilly residential road.|
|Oh gosh...worst pylon picture ever.|
|That's a big field.|
Ridership: Considering it only runs once a day, one can expect the 434's ridership to be quite low. It is the third least-used MBTA bus route behind the 431 and 171, with only 60 riders per weekday. Still, though, that averages out to 30 per trip, which is pretty much optimal for an express. My ride had fewer people, though, with only about 20 passengers. Perhaps it's because it was on a Friday, or maybe the inbound trips just get more ridership.
Pros: Well, the main pro is that it serves a lot. The 434 is the only express service that runs to Peabody, and it serves a good amount in the process. In fact, only three or four people went as far as Peabody, with the others getting off before that. Also, I know once a day seems like an awful schedule, but considering its ridership and the fact that it's a niche route, I think it's suitable for the 434.
Cons: HOWEVER, what was the deal with that Tobin Bridge fiasco? I would imagine going over the bridge and cutting across Revere takes longer than just heading through the Callahan Tunnel like the route is supposed to do. Perhaps there was traffic in the tunnel and the driver was aware of that? I mean, we still hit traffic on Revere Beach Parkway. Also, why are there no outbound stops on the 434's independent section? Sure, it's a short part of the route, but it has stops on the inbound side (though not too many)! Why give people a way of getting into Boston with no means of getting out?
Nearby and Noteworthy: Peabody Square is definitely the most interesting locale the 434 serves. With a surprisingly eclectic selection of small businesses, (including a model train place!) I can easily see myself spending a few hours here. When you're hungry, Downtown Pizza offers cheap slices and very friendly service, especially for a pizza joint.
Final Verdict: 5/10
This is not one of the better North Shore express routes. Sure, it does serve a large area that no other expresses serve, but why doesn't it make any outbound stops on its independent section? Plus, I don't know what the deal was with the Tobin Bridge routing. It may have been a nice view, but it was A) a complete deviation from the regular route, which isn't good, and B) a longer trip! I guess the 434 does its job fine, but it could really use some improvements with stops and consistency (i.e. not making random deviations for seemingly no reason).
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