|Oh no, what is this??|
|Why, hello there!|
|Crossing the Commuter Rail.|
|At least this one has some snowy hills in the background!|
|That's a view, I guess.|
|Oh boy, another mall!|
|A house in the woods.|
|Wow, that is a misty marsh...|
|These woods are scary!|
|Oh dear...sorry, shelter!|
|A shot of downtown Gardner from after we had left the bus.|
|The bus at City Hall.|
Ridership: The ridership on this route is pretty lame - in 2014, it got an average of 77 riders per weekday, which is quite skimpy. My ride was really bad, with only one person going outbound and three people waiting to do the inbound trip.
Pros: This is a useful route in two ways: for one thing, it connects Fitchburg to Gardner, as I said; for another, though, it also connects Mount Wachusett Community College and Fitchburg. I don't know anything about its students and where they live, but I'll bet a good amount of people commute there from Fitchburg! That could also explain why this route only runs from Labor Day to Memorial Day. Finally, the ride was very scenic - maybe it was just the fog, but there was some absolutely beautiful scenery along here!
Cons: Oh, but don't think this is a good route. Nooooo, it certainly isn't. First of all, we just have to talk about that schedule again. I definitely understand why it's rush hour only, given the commuting nature of the route, but I just don't see why it has to be so darn complicated! For example, why does it deviate to Monument Square in Leominster in the morning only, and exclusively on outbound trips? Does that deviation really get the riders to justify it? Also, it seems like they could really cut Westminster service all together and run express straight through like some trips do already - at least on my ride, not a soul got on or off there.
Nearby and Noteworthy: Yeah, so like I said, downtown Westminster is just the most bustling place in the world! I'd put in on a Midtown Manhattan level - it's just crazy. No, actually, this route doesn't really serve anywhere interesting...downtown Gardner is okay, but it's kind of run-down.
Final Verdict: 4/10
Man, I really can't stand that schedule. That's honestly the biggest problem with this bus, but it's just such a huge issue! This is a route that means well, but is executed terribly. If the schedule was simplified and the headways were made more even, if possible, you might be able to attract more riders to this thing.
Latest MBTA News: Service Updates