|The bus at Walmart.|
|Leaving onto Paramount Drive.|
|A little pizza shop.|
|A residential side street.|
|A view of the mall.|
|NO ONE TOLD ME ABOUT THE T-REX!|
|A liquor shop.|
|What's this? The empty parking lot for the school? Gee, if cars have the sense not to come here in the summer, why not GATRA?|
From that incredibly busy deviation, we headed back to County Street, which crossed over the Taunton River. At this point, we rejoined the regular route...in the wrong direction. That's right, we had to head down Ingell Street like an outbound bus in order to serve a residential neighborhood. Don't get me wrong, this would make perfect sense if the bus had students on it, but...it didn't. BECAUSE IT'S SUMMER.
|Going over the Taunton River.|
Ingell Street was lined with houses for a bit, then it became industrial. We went over yet another railroad level crossing, and reached some businesses as we turned onto Weir Street. There were some houses, a big factory, and another railroad crossing, then it became residential with some businesses sprinkled in.
|What a lovely...um...lot.|
Weir Street led us into downtown Taunton, where retail abounded, of course. Now, for some reason, the inbound 8 deviates to serve the Taunton "Historic Courthouse" and I have no idea why - no other GATRA routes do this. Regardless, it meant turning onto Court Street, going by deserted buildings and parking lots. Finally, we turned onto Washington Street, and after one final level crossing with a railroad, we entered the Bloom Bus Terminal.
|The bus setting out on another outbound journey.|
GATRA Route: 8 (East Taunton/Raynham Walmart)
Ridership: Like I said, this is GATRA's busiest route, so prepare for astronomically high numbers. Are you ready for this? About 315 people per weekday and 190 per Saturday. WOOOOOOOWWWWWWW. My trip got about 15 people, which is simply huge for GATRA! I mean...crazy!
Pros: It's a GATRA route that people use! That alone is incredible! It's also the only full route to serve the southeastern part of Taunton (the 3 is rush hour only), including some busy malls. It has that classic GATRA schedule of every hour Monday-Saturday, and it works.
Cons: Some of those deviations can feel too long, but I guess if they get people, there's nothing wrong with them. And, uh, yeah, I guess that's it for the cons. OH WAIT YEAH WHY THE HECK DID WE SERVE THE SCHOOL IN THE SUMMER?
Nearby and Noteworthy: A lot of people use this route for shopping, and you can too! If you really want to go all the way out to Taunton, of course...
Final Verdict: 8/10
Ayyyyyy, the 8 gets an 8! Honestly, it's really the ridership that sells it for me, since it gets so much more than any other GATRA route (about 100 more riders than the second-busiest route, the 10). The 8 may be a windy crazy trip, but hey - at least it gets people! But you know where we got no people? Oh yeah, THE SCHOOL. Only GATRA would serve a freaking school in the middle of summer...
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