|The bus coming towards Gardner City Hall.|
|These were not easy windows to take pictures out of...|
|A section of woods.|
|A gas station in Baldwinville Village.|
|I'm kinda surprised at how decent this photo turned out to be!|
|What a strange place for a car dealership...|
|Too bad I couldn't really capture it...|
|A side street downtown.|
|Some houses in Winchendon.|
|Would ya look at that...a bus in Winchendon, Massachusetts. Who woulda thought?|
Ridership: Well, first of all, I just want to say how surprised I was to see that this route actually gets anyone, let alone about 35 people per day! Yeah, okay, that's absolutely terrible for most bus routes, but it was surprising to see here. Our ride on the last trip of the day had four other people heading up to Winchendon, and even one person coming back!
Pros: I can't believe I'm saying this, but Winchendon actually seems like it might kind of need a bus route. I mean, it had over 10,000 people in the 2010 census, plus you've got another 8,000 from Templeton. Yeah, okay, both towns are pretty spread out (although Winchendon's downtown is dense), but our trip did have four whole people! That's not bad, right?
Cons: Oh wait, this route costs $31.47 per passenger for MART to run - that's one of the worst passenger subsidies I've ever seen! Also, it seems that the only trips on this route that actually get riders are the rush hour ones...and even if that wasn't the case, this schedule would still be weeeeeeird. The frequencies range from half an hour to three hours in seemingly random parts of the day! Why are there trips at 11:30 and 12:30, then a three hour gap until 3:30, the last trip of the day? And why doesn't it run a few hours later to better cater to commuters?
Nearby and Noteworthy: Heck, the ride itself is cool enough to be noteworthy! Downtown Winchendon has a few restaurants and businesses, but there is nothing there that is worth the trek...trust me.
Final Verdict: 4/10
Gosh, I kinda have a soft spot for the ol' Winchendon Link. Yeah, the route is terrible and it costs so much money to run and the schedule is ridiculous and inefficient...but it's just such a cool route! Who's ever heard of Winchendon? I was so excited to ride this thing, and it honestly blew my expectations away with its four other passengers. It goes against my better judgement, but I'm going to give this thing a higher score than it probably deserves...
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