|Okay, I didn't realize the camera was on "sepia mode" when I took this, so, uh...welcome to old-time Gloucester?|
|The best picture I could get of the inside...|
|A shot of downtown Gloucester.|
|Some houses as we turned off of Washington Street.|
|The high school.|
|Now that's a publicity shot!|
|A residential side street.|
|Looking down Maplewood Ave.|
|The end of Dale Ave.|
|The bus on Rogers Street.|
Ridership: On weekdays, this is by far the busiest route on the CATA, with an average of 180 riders - about 18 people per trip! Bill, the driver, said that some days the bus can be empty (my trip got around 10 people), but other times there can literally be standees. Standees on a minibus! What?? On Saturdays, the route only gets around 50 people, about 7 per trip. Again, though, the route can get a bunch of riders on busy shopping days.
Pros: Pretty simple pro here: the route actually gets people! Yes, it's completely catered to shoppers, but I guess if that equates to ridership, I can't complain. The true highlight of the trip, though, was Bill. He was one of the nicest bus drivers I've ever met, and he seemed to know every single person that got on the bus! He would always tell people to "stay out of trouble" as they got off, which was pretty funny.
Cons: Just look at the route! It's a mess! Most of the deviations get people, I guess, but it would be great if the map at least had arrows to let you know where the bus actually goes. It's also ironic that the busiest route on the CATA is forced to use minibuses - if they cut some of the really outrageous deviations (like pulling into the narrow front drive of that apartment building), they could give the route full-sized buses, which would be better. Finally, just as a nitpick, all of the trips leave Dunkin' Donuts on the hour, but for some reason there's a trip at 2:08 on weekdays (i.e. 1:00, 2:08. 3:00). I'm sure there's a reason for it, but it just looks kinda ugly on the schedule.
(UPDATE: Turns out the 2:08 departure is meant to get the bus to Gloucester High School right at dismissal - that makes more sense now.)
Nearby and Noteworthy: Well, if there's anywhere you want to go in Gloucester, this bus will take you there. The real question is if you would WANT to go to any of these places. No...no, probably not.
Final Verdict: 9/10
Yes, I know there are a lot of cons for this route. Yes, I know I usually hate routes with millions of deviations. But the thing is, it gets people. And for CATA, this is an incredibly frequent route! I guess it needs that "frequent" every-hour schedule, too, since so many people seem to use this thing. Perhaps the best part of the ride, though, was Bill. The way he knew everyone and talked to people was great, and it made the ride such a pleasure! That's truly what gave this route that extra point to become a 9.
Latest MBTA News: Service Updates
Thanks to everyone from Reddit and Universal Hub who checked out the Hastings review! Also, I did go to Transit Day at the Seashore Trolley Museum yesterday, but it might take me a little while to get the post out...but look forward to that!