|What a great MiDi bus! No, seriously, these are awesome.|
|Some buildings in Attleboro.|
|A mostly residential neighborhood.|
|A piece of the industrial section.|
|A side street.|
|The view of a water tower just before arriving at Wheaton College.|
|A twisty side street.|
|Looking down Norton Ave.|
|The bus at the Bloom terminal.|
Ridership: The 18 is GATRA's sixth-busiest route on weekdays, with an average of 150 riders. Of course, that equates to a whole six people per trip, so...well, that's not the best. On Saturdays, though, the 18 drops to being GATRA's sixth-least busiest route, with less than 40 riders! How many per trip is that? Less than four. So yeah, the 18 isn't a particularly high-performing route.
Pros: The actual route of the 18 is very good, connecting Attleboro and Taunton up, as well as Wheaton College and Norton in the middle. GATRA's not very good about connecting its hubs up, so the 18 is nice to see.
Cons: But it has many...many problems. Let's see...there's no denying that the rush hour schedule is frequent, but it's also intermittent. For example, there are Attleboro departures at 2:30, 3:40, 3:55, and 5:15. So we have a 70 minute gap, a 15 minute gap, and then another 70 minute gap. That 3:55 trip is probably nice - I'll bet it's always empty! And yet the Saturday schedule is even stranger; all but one AM trip run from Taunton to Attleboro, and all but one PM trip run from Attleboro to Taunton, with no midday service. Number 1: why is Saturday service run like a rush-hour only route?? And number 2, does that mean that one bus heads out to Attleboro, then deadheads back to Taunton, then runs out to Attleboro again? Come on, just run it in revenue service going back, too! Finally, what's the deal with the 18's fare system? I guess I understand the zone fares, but it's really annoying that the 18 doesn't offer transfers. It's basically its own little system - you can't even get 30-day passes for it! So yeah, sorry, Taunton to Attleboro commuters...I hope you have enough small change for your daily rides on this strange, strange route.
Nearby and Noteworthy: Along the middle section of the route, there isn't really much of interest aside from Wheaton College (which is easier to get to by taking the 140, anyway). Of course, the 18's termini are major cities, and this is one of two ways of getting to Taunton by public transportation (and the other will be discussed in a later post).
Final Verdict: 5/10
Man, I dunno...this is a quirky route - and not in a good way. The 18 could theoretically provide a solid and consistent connection between Attleboro, Norton, and Taunton, but its strange fare system (no transfers!) and scheduling make it fall flat. This is a good bus in theory, but in practice...ech!
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