Monday, February 27, 2017

MVRTA: Buckley Transportation Center

As we move away from the MWRTA for now, that "W" turns into a "V" and we enter a very different type of system. The bulk of the MVRTA is located in Lawrence, a city where people actually, you know, use the bus (sorry, MWRTA). And all of its routes there are consolidated into one bustling hub, the Buckley Transportation Center.

That is not a pretty building...
Yup...that's the Buckley Transportation Center. It appears to contain a rather large parking garage, but I can't find any information on how many spaces it contains. And boy, is it an ugly parking garage! I mean, I just hate the look of this building so much!

Inside the waiting room.
Okay, let's cover the waiting room first. This is probably the best part of the Buckley Transportation Center, not that that's saying much. It features seating, a ticket office, some maps, schedules for all the routes, and even a few vending machines.

Ohhhhhh noooooo...
And now we get to the reason why I hate this place so much! This boarding area is just dingy, first of all - I mean, it's a parking garage in the middle of Lawrence, what do you expect? There are essentially no facilities out here, aside from a few benches and wastebaskets on the edges of the terminal. Buses line up frontward and backward in rows, and you need to consult a map outside the waiting room to find out where you're boarding, since there are no signs anywhere else.

Check out those amenities! Wowwwww!
As for the boarding procedure? Jeez Louise, it's ridiculous. The MVRTA follows a pulse system, which works fine for the most part (I think the system might be a little too big for one, but that's just me). This means that during each pulse, a bunch of buses will be all lined up in the terminal waiting for passengers; people get on the buses they want, which have open doors but no drivers. Once all the drivers come back, the riders have to get up and all gather at the front of the bus to pay their fares! How inefficient can you get? That's ridiculous!

I needed one last picture, so, uh...here ya go!
MVRTA Station: Buckley Transportation Center

Ridership: This is the downtown hub of all of the Lawrence MVRTA services, and it's where most people get on and off each route. Of course, I don't have any actual numbers, but rest assured, this place can get busy.

Pros: You know, having a consolidated hub is good. The MVRTA pulse system makes it easy to transfer between buses. The waiting room has a decent amount of amenities. These are some proper pros...but it's downhill from there.

Cons: Everything else about the Buckley Transportation Center is terrible! The building is ugly, the busway is dingy and dark, and the boarding procedure is ridiculously inefficient! Waiting here is just a miserable experience that I wanted to end as soon as possible. And for the record, why the heck is this place so far from the Commuter Rail station? It's such a pain to walk from there to Buckley and vice versa!

Nearby and Noteworthy: The hub is located right in downtown Lawrence...but I'm really not a fan of downtown Lawrence. Look, maybe I'm overreacting, but I always feel a little nervous whenever I walk around here. It's not a very nice place.

Final Verdict: 3/10
I'm all for having a pulse system with a consolidated hub...but if the hub is this uncomfortable to wait at, there's a problem. And sure, it has its good points - the waiting room is a somewhat decent place to wait - but I just can't get behind the crazy boarding procedure or the dinginess of the main busway. Sorry, Buckley Transportation Center, but I kinda hate you.

Latest MBTA News: Service Updates

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