Friday, September 2, 2016

Sam's Operational Oculi: Quincy Garage

Today’s post takes us to the Quincy Garage, located (here’s a shocker) in Quincy, MA. Quincy Garage is the operational center of all of the “200 series” routes, which for the most part congregate around the Quincy Center Station. Routes leave in all directions from here, and it’s an absolute madhouse at rush hour with large herds of buses leaving the station at once, trying to weave around each other in the narrow busway. Quincy also operates routes out of the Ashmont and Fields Corner Stations on the Red Line, which run into the area serviced by the rest of the Quincy routes. Until October 2014, Quincy provided service to the Long Island homeless shelters via the Long Island Viaduct, on the 274, 275, and 276 routes. Those services have since been abandoned when Long Island was evacuated due to safety concerns with the Long Island Viaduct. As a garage that does not enter the City of Boston much at all, Quincy Garage is fairly isolated, and has a very surburban feel.

A bus in Quincy Square


Quincy Garage is the only garage besides Fellsway to not have a Key Bus Route in its jurisdiction, and the only rating station (roster of drivers) to not have one. This isn’t to say that it’s always a low ridership garage; take a ride on the 240 and you’ll notice that Quincy’s buses can get people. Routes like the 215, 220, 222, 225, and 240 come to mind as well used routes with high frequencies. Quincy Garage also holds the lesser distinction of being the only garage without “swing ons”. A swing on is when one driver will relieve another driver at a place other than the garage. What this does is forces all buses to be out of the garage for no more than 6 hours (which, for the most part, is the maximum amount of time a driver can be scheduled to drive one bus without a break). This theoretically translates to better on time performance, since delays wouldn’t cascade as severely (though I cannot seem to find any statistics around this to tell the real story).

Quincy Center at Rush Hour.


As mentioned above, Quincy Center is the staple of the garage’s operation. A short five minute drive away from the garage, almost all of Quincy’s routes terminate here. They fan out into corridors, which usually consist of multiple variants. Some travel down parallel streets, some enter malls, and some short turn midway along the route. The 225 has probably the most variants out of all the routes in the system. I hope the picture below does justice.

The 225's many variants


Some of Quincy Center’s routes barely run. Both the 217 to Ashmont and the 221 to Fort Point see four trips per day. The 245 to Mattapan sees only about 15. These routes exist either to serve areas otherwise not accessible by public transportation, or due to continued local support for them to run.

A bus pulling out

Ashmont sees the Route 240 into Randolph, as well as the 215 and extremely limited 217. Some 240 trips run to the Holbrook/Randolph Station, where a connection to the 238 can be made (which is a very well used connection). Fields Corner, two stations up the Red Line, is served by the 201 and 202 routes, which serve a loop in the Neponset area of Boston in opposite directions, and extend to North Quincy station on weekends. The 210 also connects Fields Corner to Quincy Center Station on weekdays.

A 238 and 240 facilitate a transfer at Holbrook/Randolph

So in short, Quincy Garage is a suburban operation, serving the South Shore. It could definitely stand to be slightly less confusing with its variants, but it gets the job done. I hope to write about Lynn Garage, on the north shore of Boston, in the near future. Before that, look for more posts from Miles about GATRA, and his recent trip to Portland! Stay tuned.

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