Thursday, June 23, 2016

9703 (Brighton High School - Jackson Square Station via Mass Pike)

Okay, last one! I feel like I've spent my whole life waiting at the corner of Cambridge and Warren for the 9700 buses to arrive at the Brighton High School. I've seen enough 57s pass by to last a lifetime. So let's finish these school trip anomalies up with a look at the 9703.

The 9701 was right in front of the 9703, so the angle is a bit awkward.
Right, so from Warren Street, we turned onto Cambridge Street and headed to Union Square. After that we went up over I-90, and past some industry, apartments, and a closed freight yard, we headed onto the ramp to the highway. This is all familiar territory if you've read the other 9700 reviews, so I'm going pretty quickly.

Another shot of the bus.
After the bridge section of I-90, we went below ground level, passing B.U. buildings and apartments. We soon entered the Copley Square tunnel and took the exit, then turned onto Dartmouth Street. We turned onto Columbus Ave soon after, directly following the 9701 route. (Although it turns out that both the 9701 and 9703 are supposed to take Huntington Ave instead of Columbus...more route discrepancies!)

Lots o' ridership.
Columbus Ave was lined with apartments (mostly brownstones) and the occasional business. Eventually, we went by a park and passed some modern Northeastern University buildings, then turned into the Ruggles busway. This seemed a bit odd, since the day before when I took the 9701, the 9703 in front of us had just turned onto Melnea Cass Boulevard to head towards Jackson, bypassing the busway. One of those buses was doing something wrong...

What a great parking lot.
After leaving the busway, we turned onto Ruggles Street, then the wide Tremont Street. We went by the Boston Police Headquarters, as well as Roxbury Community College and Roxbury Crossing Station. The street was now called Columbus Ave (the same Columbus Ave from before?), with scenery consisting of parking lots on one side and the Southwest Corridor on the other. Finally, we turned off the road and headed into the Jackson Square busway, where the bus went out of service.

A wastebasket, a post, and a building...nice!
Route: 9703 (Brighton High School - Jackson Square Station via Mass Pike)

Ridership: This time, it really was just me. I'm not sure what the deal was at Brighton High School that day, but yeah, it was an empty bus. I'm sure it would have been crowded had it been a proper school day!

Pros: This is yet another fast trip from Brighton High School, this time going a little further into Roxbury. Good stuff.

Cons: Yet again, the route has no morning trip, which continues to be an annoyance. Also, I thought it was weird that on my ride, the driver served the Ruggles busway. That may have been an error on the driver's part, but the route probably doesn't need to serve Ruggles in general - the two 9701 trips take care of that.

Nearby and Noteworthy: You're not a student, are you? No need to take this bus! If you really want to ride a 9700 route, stick with the 9702 - it's the most interesting one.

Final Verdict: 6/10
The 9703 is basically the middle of the three 9700 routes in terms of quality. Sure, it serves more than the 9701, but why did the driver serve the Ruggles busway? It's pretty much a waste of time, and the fact that the 9703 skipped the busway the previous day just showcased the loose attitude of these school routes. Also, they need morning trips! Please!

Latest MBTA News: Service Updates

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