|The bus arriving at Malden.|
|I love this house!|
|A different apartment building on Broadway.|
|The view of the theater.|
|What lovely lighting for such an awful parking lot.|
|This pair of streets is awesome!|
|The intersection with American Legion Highway.|
|Some apartment buildings next to the station.|
|And here we see the gorgeous Jack Satter House, featured in an amazing photograph.|
|Prepare for an onslaught of pictures from the Zakim Bridge replica! I love these so much.|
|The bus getting closer.|
|Going by in a blur.|
|Excelsior! What are you doing up here?!|
Ridership: It's pretty low overall, with only 1,087 riders per weekday and 563 per Saturday. However, this could be because the route has a bunch of little pockets of ridership - no one rides this from beginning to end. Generally, you've got a lot of commuters from Malden Center to Granada, then there's a shopper contingency from Granada to Northgate. After that, buses are quiet up to Wonderland, where there's another group of riders that take the route from the station to Jack Satter House. My rush hour trip had about 45 riders in total, but most of them got off between Malden Center and Granada.
Pros: Well, for one thing, it's a really fun ride! It runs between two completely different parts of greater Boston - three if you count the marshland north of Wonderland! And of course, that means that the route also serves a lot. During the morning rush, it only runs between Malden Center and Granada, but it does so every 10-25 minutes. Otherwise, the 411 is less frequent, with every 25 minute service during the evening rush, every 65 minutes during the day, and every 70 minutes on Saturdays. However, this is a fine schedule for such a long, twisty route with a lot of shared sections.
Cons: Oh, that "twisty" part is very accurate. The section from Malden Center to Granada is direct, but you're in for a ride once you get past there. There are lots of twists and turns, including that long Northgate deviation, and the fact that it runs down Ocean Ave after Jack Satter House forces it to make a huge loop around Revere. It kinda feels like a few different routes patched together, which, in a sense, it is.
Nearby and Noteworthy: There are lots of small businesses along the route (plus Revere Beach), but it's almost guaranteed that the 411 is the least direct way of getting to any of them!
Final Verdict: 7/10
This is one of those routes that feels the urge to "serve" everything in its path, with deviations to Granada and Northgate. However, though it takes forever to do the whole route, no one is taking this from beginning to end. The deviations are mostly places where ridership swaps over, with most of the bus getting off and new people getting on - they don't inconvenience too many through riders. I mean, if you really want to get between the Orange Line and the Blue Line, the 110 does it in half the time! As for the 411, it may be completely insane, but it serves a few little ridership pockets, and it's a heck of a fun ride.
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