|The bus at Wellington.|
|Looking down a side street.|
|Looking at the Orange Line tracks in Malden Center.|
|A dead-end street.|
|A hilly side street.|
|Turning onto Lebanon Street.|
|A street corner.|
|The bus laying over.|
Ridership: This route gets good ridership, with 3,136 riders per weekday, 1,629 per Saturday, and 1,123 per Sunday (with the 106 almost cracking the top 30 bus routes on the latter). However, most of those riders are centered around the Wellington to Malden section (shared with the 99), and the Malden to Lebanon Loop section. My outbound trip saw no other riders past the loop, and only two coming back. However, the rest of the ride from Lebanon to Wellington had a good amount of people.
Pros: It's weird - most of the 106 is shared with other routes, and yet it still...works. It essentially serves two functions (linking Everett to the Orange Line, and connecting the Lebanon Loop area to Malden Center), and performs them both well. It also has pretty good headways, running every 20 minutes at rush hour, every 30-50 minutes during the day, every half hour on Saturdays, and every hour nights and Sundays.
Cons: Well..."pretty" good headways. The route could probably stand to run more often on Sundays, all things considered. However, it has some other, more easily fixable problems. Number one is the fact that it has a layover at Lebanon Loop. This presents a problem for people who might be heading to Forest or Sylvan Streets, as they have to stay on the bus for a while and wait for it to start up again. Number two, does the route really need to go all the way to Franklin Square? I think they could honestly just cut it back to Lebanon Loop, and it wouldn't inconvenience many people at all and allow the route to run more often. And if it does keep going to Franklin Square, does it really have to go via Linwood Ave? That's such a tiny road, and the bus could just as easily stay on the wider Lebanon Street and still get to the same place.
Nearby and Noteworthy: There's not much of note along the mostly residential independent section, but the 106 serves its fair share of businesses along its shared sections.
Final Verdict: 6/10
The 106 is a route that many people rely on, and it generally does a decent job of fulfilling its needs - it just has a lot of simple problems that could be easily fixed. I really think it could be cut back from Franklin Square middays, although the rush hour trips from Malden to that general area should stay. Other than that, it would be great if the loop layover could be eliminated with just a longer one at Wellington, but that could make the bus late going inbound.
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