Sunday, March 18, 2018


The original Bridgewater station was closer to downtown, but I actually like the Old Colony placement more! Yes, you heard me: the Old Colony station is in a better location than the original. That's because this stop now serves Bridgewater State University, and it's right there.

Our first entrance.
Bridgewater Station features four pedestrian entrances. The first one is at a little roundabout on the western edge of the station, and it has a payphone and some bike spaces. The other three are simple stairs or ramps leading from the parking lot. The easternmost one also has some more bike spaces, adding up to a total of 24.

The parking lot...from above.
It's an Old Colony station, so of course the parking lot is huge - it has 504 spaces. It can't be seen in this picture, but I appreciate how the central entrance from the station has a sidewalk going straight across the parking lot, so it's easier for pedestrians to get into the university. There's a garage right nearby (from which I took the photo), but I believe it's only for BSU purposes.

On the platform.
This is an Old Colony platform, so there isn't much to say, but I do like it. The Bridgewater platform has two shelters on separate sides of the station, which is great. Both of them have essentially the same things underneath: benches, wastebaskets, information, and screens. Great!

On to Middleborough!
Station: Bridgewater

Ridership: It's huge! With 1,036 inbound riders per weekday, this is the busiest station on the Middleborough Line and the 20th most-used station on the Commuter Rail.

Pros: It has all of the Old Colony amenities you would want (plus a second shelter!), including a high-level platform and a big parking lot. However, Bridgewater goes above and beyond that with its location. Yes, we're right in the Bridgewater State University campus, and thanks to fantastic pedestrian paths, practically anywhere on campus is walkable. If not, there's always the BSU Shuttle!

Cons: The station got so wrapped up in serving the university that it totally forgot about the residential neighborhoods to the south! Now, granted, this isn't Anderson/Woburn - people in those houses only have to walk about ten minutes to get to the station. But seeing as it's right there, a direct path would cut the walk down by a huge amount!

Nearby and Noteworthy: BSU, of course! Bridgewater Center is also rather nice - it's a fifteen-minute walk away.

Final Verdict: 8/10
This is a great Old Colony station, and just a flat-out great station. It has a totally high-level platform and it's very convenient for students at BSU. It's too bad there's no access from the south, but creating it would require a lot of infrastructure for not too many riders - they only have to walk ten minutes to get to the station, anyway.

Latest MBTA News: Service Updates

Saturday, March 17, 2018

BAT: BSU Service (Bridgewater State University)

Since BAT labels its free student-run Bridgewater State University shuttle service as one route, I guess I'll have to review its lines in one post! Although to show how much BAT itself cares about the service, that link on the BAT website has outdated information - this is where everything is up-to-date.

Oh no, don't tell me this is a system of truck minibuses!
Route 28 (Express to/from BAT Centre): We begin with the university's only numbered service, a route that runs from Brockton down to BSU. Sam and I boarded the bus at its own special T berth in the BAT Centre, and we departed down Montello Street. This closely paralleled the Commuter Rail tracks, and it had some hardcore industry on that side, while the other side had dense houses. Interestingly, no other BAT routes travel down this road.

Okay, it's no surprise why that's the case.
The street basically darted between residential and industrial sections, all the way until Keith Park. Here, we turned onto Plain Street along the south side of the park, then we went onto Main Street, joining up with the 2. This street was a smorgasbord of stuff, including suburban businesses, houses, some huge apartment buildings, and the BAT bus yard.

Coming onto Main Street.
Suburban businesses eventually became the primary buildings along Main Street, and we passed some of the most decrepit and abandoned-looking shopping malls I've ever seen. The route actually used to begin at one of these shopping centers, and Brockton-bound riders would be forced to transfer to the 2! Good thing that's not the case anymore.

A gas station.
We continued beyond the terminus of the 2, entering West Bridgewater. There was a clear drop in development over the border - although suburban businesses still showed up in droves, there were no cross streets, and it was just forest beyond North Main Street. We eventually passed a cemetery and a solar farm, after which it briefly got residential with some proper woodsy sections.

The sun rises over the trees!
West Bridgewater Center wasn't much: there were just some chain businesses with parking lots surrounding a pretty inaccessible "common." We made our way onto South Main Street here, crossing the Town River and going by mostly houses with a few industrial buildings in there. Eventually, we entered Bridgewater proper.

Liquors! Now open!
After lots of houses, we arrived at Bridgewater Center, which was much better than its western counterpart! There was a pedestrian-friendly common here, and it was surrounded by some nice businesses in charming buildings. We turned onto Central Square, which went around the common.

Heading along the common!
We turned onto School Street next, and that took us straight into the BSU campus. We made a stop at the Art Center, then we looped around a green to the second and final stop, Harrington Hall. Oh...or we could skip Harrington Hall entirely, instead turning onto Summer Street, then Plymouth Street, then Burrill Avenue, making our final stop at Hart Hall. Okay...I guess that works too?

Interesting place to end.
BSU Route: Route 28 (Express to/from BAT Centre)
Ridership: My ride got about 10 people, which isn't huge, but people are definitely using the service.
Pros: This is a fast connection to Brockton - it only takes about 20 minutes. And sure, the Commuter Rail takes 12, but this bus is free! It only runs five times a day, but I honestly don't think it needs to come much more often than that.
Cons: The NextBus data for this route is really out of date. It has the bus only going as far as that shopping center just over the Brockton line, and it doesn't mention anything about going to Hart Hall. Was that supposed to happen?
Nearby and Noteworthy: Brockton, of course - not that anyone who isn't at BSU has much reason to take this there.
Driver's Radio Preference: Top 40
Final Verdict: 7/10
This is a quick free shuttle for anyone coming from or going to Brockton. My guess is that the departure times reflect commuting patterns for students, and the bus would probably run empty if it ran more often. Its only big issue is the outdated NextBus data.

Hey, a proper bus!
Green Line (East/West Connection): Next, we move onto the Green Line, which begins at Bridgewater Station and the parking garage for commuters next to it. We looped around onto Great Hill Drive from there, running through a bit of forest until a few buildings with parking lots. We turned onto Burrill Ave next, passing a few dorms - we did a deviation into one of them. However, we didn't deviate into Miles Hall, so honestly, I should just give this route a 1/10!

Some of the dorms.
We turned onto Hooper Street, passing Burnell Hall and a commuter lot. It was a left on the residential Plymouth Street after that, then we crossed the Commuter Rail track (with a painfully long railroad stop). From there, we turned onto Summer Street, and completed the route by looping around Boyden Hall, with stops at Harrington Hall and the Art Center.

Time for another trip back.
BSU Route: Green Line (East/West Connection)
Ridership: My ride only got two people, but I saw another bus on the line that had a full-seated load. It was prime commute time, though, so I wonder what it's like middays, for example.
Pros: Well, at least at rush hour, people do seem to use this thing! It runs about every 10-15 minutes from 7:15 AM to 7:00 PM, supposedly.
Cons: The problem is that it could be replaced by the "Red Line" at any point - we'll get to that later. No, the other thing about the Green Line is that it's kinda useless unless you're really lazy. Thanks to BSU's network of pedestrian paths, the furthest possible distance on the route is only about a 15 minute walk. That means that if you just miss a bus, it's faster to hoof it!
Nearby and Noteworthy: Miles Hall, of course - duh!!
Driver's Radio Preference: Soft Rock
Final Verdict: 4/10
I was wary of giving this route any higher than that. Sure, it gets used by commuters during rush hour, but it's kinda useless for campus transportation unless you're lazy. Everyone I've talked to who went or goes to BSU have said that they rarely, if ever, use the shuttle. Not to mention it's unreliable, since it could be changed to a different routing at a moment's notice. Gosh, maybe a 4 is too high...

The Blue Line bus...from above. This is on the other end of the route, but it's better than the photo I got at the Art Center.
Blue Line (Commuter Express): That's a misleading name. Indeed, this "express" is the more annoyingly deviation-filled route on campus. We began it by heading out from the Art Center, turning onto Summer Street, and merging onto Plymouth Street. We were lucky because we were going eastbound, but the westbound route does a really long deviation just to serve a parking lot within a three minute walk of the main road. That deviation also comes really close to a mall, but for some reason it has no stop for it!

Looking down Spring Street.
Plymouth Street became mostly residential past there, but once we arrived at a big football stadium, we turned onto an access road. This was a deviation to the Tinsley Center, where we looped around and headed straight back up. It was back onto Plymouth Street, where we went by a baseball field and some more houses. Next, we turned onto Great Hill Drive, which took a longgggggg, windy trip through the woods until we arrived at the Commuter Rail station.

In the parking lot.
BSU Route: Blue Line (Commuter Express)
Ridership: My trip got two people, and I wasn't able to see what other ones got, unfortunately.
Pros: Hey, the Athletic and Tinsley Centers are actually kinda far, so I can see how this route would be useful for those. However...
Cons: The longest possible distance on this route is an 18 minute walk. The route runs "every 15-20 minutes." So again, if you've just missed a bus, it's faster just to walk (it didn't help that our driver was really slow...)! Also, why does this route bother to serve the Commuter Rail station? The Green Line already covers it, and the Blue Line could be much more frequent to its unique sections if it didn't take that long trip there. Finally, that mall on the westbound Spring Street Lot deviation is legitimately far from everything else, and all that would need to be done is adding an additional stop on that deviation!
Nearby and Noteworthy: People mostly use this to get to the Athletic and Tinsley Centers, I imagine.
Driver's Radio Preference: Country
Final Verdict: 3/10
This route has a lot of improvements that could be made to make it more frequent and useful. Eliminate the Commuter Rail section, run the shorter route more frequently, and add a stop on the Spring Street deviation for that mall. Also, this route can be replaced by the Red Line at any time, which is annoying! Speaking of which...

Red Line: Okay, so I didn't actually get to ride the Red Line, but I can at least talk about it. The route is a combination of the Green and Blue Lines, doing every single one of their deviations. It comes every 15-20 minutes, and it runs..."as needed." Okay, that's vague. Based on a few inspections of the system at various times of day, the Red Line will just randomly replace Green and Blue Line service! Why can't it just have set times, say, middays, while the lines run separately during rush hours? This whole "as needed" business just makes the system more complicated and unpredictable than it has to be.

Gold Line: There are a lot of routes for such a small campus, huh? The Gold Line is the only route that runs nights, from 7:00 PM to 2:00 AM. It's also the only route that runs on weekends, but only during those nighttime hours. It's similar to the Red Line, but it uses two buses (thus running every 10-15 minutes), and it has a few on-demand locations that can be requested by calling a number. I appreciate that these deviations can be done spontaneously, since that's probably how most decisions are made by college students at 2 in the morning!

Overall, this all feels like a "courtesy" system more than anything. Most of the destinations these shuttles serve are within easy walking distance from each other, but these buses are here as a courtesy to those who are unable to easily get between them...or those who are lazy. I think it's overly complex considering how many destinations it serves, but it is nice that the buses are student-run. Still, this system isn't too useful, and it's WAY too complicated for its own good. I'm going to have to give it a 3/10.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Wickford Junction

The MBTA has made many mistakes over the years. Wickford Junction is one of them.

We begin with the busway.
Throughout this review, we'll be talking about the various ways Rhode Island has tried to make this waste of a station into something that comes even close to its ridership projections. Here's the first one: RIPTA abandoned one of its park-and-rides to reroute all of the area routes to Wickford. Thus, the 62, 65x, and 66 all deviate into the busway here.

The busway itself is fine - it's just a few benches and...wait, this sign is interesting. They have a normal RIPTA sign, but they just threw an MBTA-style sign above it! Hey, did you know that MBTA Commuter Rail monthly passes are valid for free travel on the bus routes that come here? That's Failed Ridership Booster #2!

Stairs up to the platform.
There's a line of parking spaces right along the platform in the loop area outside the station. I'm not sure if they're any different from the ones in the garage, but they're here. From these spaces, there's a simple staircase up to the platform, as well as a ramp that takes a loopy route to get up there.

Looking over at the building.
Well, for a modern station, this is an awesome building! It still has a good amount of character, what with its clocktower and an art piece on a second tower. I don't know what the art is supposed to be, but hey, it was nicely lit up at night - I can't complain.

Inside the waiting room.
Wickford has a full-time waiting room whenever trains are running, which is awesome. The ground floor gets a few airport-style seats, a posted train timetable, and paper schedules for the RIPTA routes that serve the stop. There are vending machines, too - let's take a closer look at those.

Woah, woah, woah, WHAT??
Like all normal people do, I thought I would check the expiration dates on the vending machine items to see how often they were being purchased., they were very close to their expiration dates! How long could these snack items have possibly been in here? How often are these vending machines used??? How often is this station used?????

Inside the parking garage.
So Wickford Junction has one of the largest parking garages on the Commuter Rail. 1100 spaces. But the lot would only get 213 cars per weekday in 2014. Now maybe there are more that park in there now, and they certainly have incentive to: the parking is free. Yes, it's our third Failed Ridership Booster! Beautiful glass elevators traverse the four floors of the garage, whose parking, if I may remind you, is free! I can't get over that!

There are signs everywhere at Wickford Junction saying "Restrooms located on Level 1! Restrooms located on Level 1!" Okay, we looked everywhere in the first floor lobby and couldn't find them! Where the heck could they be? Oh...they're in the parking garage...on the first floor. Okay, guys, let's work on the signage, huh?

Well, these are very nice bathrooms otherwise. They have buttons that open the doors for disabled folks, which is a great touch, and inside they're mostly spotless, although the men's room did have some graffiti on one of the stalls. Overall, though, these are great. Too bad the door-opening button doesn't work for the doorway going back into the lobby.

Up on the second floor.
Believe it or not, Wickford still has more building to explore! There's a whole second floor here! The second floor lobby features some seats for waiting, another schedule, some historical information, and a Wickford Junction FAQ's placard about how the train is free to Providence "until the end of 2017." (an outdated Failed Ridership Booster) There's also a parking payment machine that has been turned off, with a piece of paper on it saying "FREE PARKING." Finally, there are signs advertising a café coming soon, but the retail space where it's supposed to be coming in looks pretty darn bare.

The platform.
Wickford's platform is surprisingly underwhelming, considering everything else. It's what you would expect with a modern Commuter Rail station: the whole thing is high-level, and there's a shelter next to the main building entrance with benches and wastebaskets underneath. The platform extends further out, and there's a connection to the other end of the parking garage a ways down. Well...this was an anticlimactic ending.

This is the furthest from Boston this train can ever get, at least in revenue service!
Station: Wickford Junction

Ridership: Alright, the most recent projection for ridership here (cited from a 2005 prediction, though) is 3,386 riders by 2020!  Well, with those lofty aspirations, I'm sure Wickford Junction has to be very close to that amount. Let's see here...on July 5th, 2017, the station got 353 riders. And that was right after Rhode Island started offering free train service from here to Boston. So even when the service is free, ridership is a tenth of the projection. Mm-mm, fantastic numbers right there.

Pros: Well, hey, the station itself is excellent! In its efforts to make it a welcoming place for Commuters, Rhode Island really did build themselves a fantastic train terminal. The platform is standard, but the building has a ton of awesome amenities, including vending machines, indoor waiting areas, and bathrooms.

Cons: Aside from the minor quirks I've mentioned above, Wickford Junction just has the little problem of being a huge boondoggle. It's such an unnecessary station! There's already extremely fast bus service from here to Providence, and hey, it's free with a Commuter Rail pass! And good luck doing the 100-minute commute from here to Boston - have fun paying that $12.50 Zone 10 fare! Also, you gotta love that 10 trains per day, weekdays-only schedule. 3,386 riders per day indeed.

Nearby and Noteworthy: Walmart? Staples? Home Depot? There isn't much around here...

Final Verdict: 8/10
Well, I'm here to review the station, not the service. There is no denying that Wickford Junction is a fabulous station. Also, I can at least imagine people commuting to Providence from here, since the $3.50 fare is very reasonable, but geez, who's going to Boston from here? Honestly, Rhode Island would probably benefit more from its own commuter rail with closer stops - let's let the T just go back to Providence, okay?

Latest MBTA News: Service Updates

Thursday, March 15, 2018

203 (Narragansett Flex)

So...why is there a Flex service down here, exactly? Within the 203's Flex Zone, we have two fixed routes that run daily service and cover most of the zone. Plus, RIPTA has extensive paratransit service throughout the zone that uses the same reservation system. So basically, the 203's target audience is people who:
  • Are under age 60
  • Don't have a disability
  • Can't use a fixed route for some reason
  • Are willing to call in advance, or get on the bus at a timepoint, which only happens four times per day
So...basically nobody. We're off to a great start!

Just hanging out in the parking lot, I guess.
Sam and I were waiting at Salt Pond Plaza for the 6:00 timepoint trip, the last one of the day. It was getting late enough that we were considering just walking over to the bus, but it finally started to move. Would it come our way? Yes, thank goodness, it pulled up and we came to the door. "Where are you going?" the driver asked gruffly. "Galilee," I responded. "Are you serious?" he said. "I'm supposed to go back to Providence now! Why didn't you just take the 66?" "We missed it," I replied. "Alright, get in," he said. "Just this once. I should be going back to Providence now."

Okay, what the heck was the deal with that??? Look, obviously we didn't miss the 66, but the principle of this is terrible! The route schedule clearly states that passengers can get on at a timepoint and request to go anywhere in the Flex Zone. There's no footnote at the 6:00 trip saying "Oh yeah, you can't actually use this timepoint because the driver wants to just go back to Providence." Look, if the driver doesn't want to do it (and based on his reaction, I doubt anyone actually uses it), just get rid of the timepoint. It's not that big of a deal.

The pictures only get worse from here...
We headed onto Point Judith Road from Salt Pond Plaza, and it quickly devolved into woods with houses here and there. We went past a golf course on one side and a farm on the other, and there were actually some dense-ish residential pockets after that. Although we had been following the 66 this whole time, the route turned off onto Burnside Ave for its Scarborough Beach deviation. It returned only about a minute later at an intersection with a few businesses.

This is basically my only picture of something.
It was more trees and houses until we turned onto Galilee Escape Road. The 66 takes a slightly longer route, since it goes to serve another beach, so we were once again solo. After running through marshland, we turned onto Great Island Road, coming past the many docks and fish markets of Galilee. "Sorry about making you come down here," Sam said to the driver. "Eh," he grumbled. "It is what it is." He let us off at the Block Island Ferry Terminal just as the 66 home was leaving, so we wandered around the empty roads of Galilee waiting for the next one to finish its hour-long layover.

A minibus in Galilee!
RIPTA Route: 203 (Narragansett Flex)

Ridership: Well, clearly there's no one at 6:00! Just based on the character of the route, I'll bet this thing doesn't get many people.

Pros: Huh...I have to say, there isn't much I have to say here.

Cons: This is just such a niche route! I mean, there are just so few people who happen to be travelling to places fixed routes don't go, and don't qualify for RIde service! Hey, at the very least, the 6:00 timepoint could be eliminated.

Nearby and Noteworthy: Well, gee, nothing that's not already covered by fixed routes.

Final Verdict: 1/10
I see no reason to keep this thing around. It seems to benefit only a tiny amount of people, and I'm sure many of them could just switch over to RIde instead. Narragansett is well-served by fixed routes, particularly the 66, and the 203 just feels pointless and redundant.

Latest MBTA News: Service Updates

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

RIPTA: 65x (Wakefield Express Park and Ride)

Welcome back to the RIPTA! We're heading down to southern Rhode Island on the rush hour-only 65x today.

Well, this is an odd picture...
The bus does the Downcity Loop like the other expresses, but Sam and I got on at its last stop, Kennedy Plaza (or Exchange Terrace, which is where the route actually boards). From there, it was a right on Francis Street and a left on Memorial Boulevard, which led us straight into a highway interchange. Express on I-95 time!

We curved around the west and south sides of Providence's downtown before entering a really industrial area. The highway went past warehouses and factories and the like, but as we curved southwestward, houses lined a parallel road on one side. We passed Roger Williams Park, crossed over the Commuter Rail and Amtrak tracks, and entered Cranston.

Some houses near an exit.
We came in between two streets in a neighborhood, then there was a section of woods as we crossed the Pawtuxet River and entered Warwick. There was another industrial area interspersed with more woods, as well as the highway connector that leads to TF Green Airport. We merged with I-295, and it was mostly woods after that. Once we entered East Greenwich, we merged onto Route 4, taking a course due south.

I think this is back on I-95, but...oh well.
Woods, woods, woods. Hey, farmland! Woods, woods, woods. We finally left the highway at Exit 6, which took us around onto Route 2. There was a small park-and-ride right by the interchange, and a good amount of the riders got off here. We continued down Route 2 from there, which had spurts of industry and retail as we entered North Kingstown.

We did a little deviation onto Ten Rod Road in order to serve Wickford Junction Station. And believe it or not, the bus is two minutes faster from Providence to here than the train, and Kennedy Plaza is more centrally located than Providence Station! Once that deviation was completed, we actually returned to the highway, zooming south through the woods.

Route 4 turned into a regular road soon enough, but it still had long sections through forest with no other intersections. We merged with Route 1, and there were a few houses at that intersection, but nope - back to woods very soon. There was an interchange with Route 138, an uncompleted highway, and there started to be more human signs along the road: houses and farmland.

Seen here in a very blurry photo.
There was some suburban retail near the intersection with Bridgetown Road, just over the border with South Kingstown. Along with a connection with the 64, we did a really sad little deviation into a park-and-ride and back out. Save for some really sparse houses, it went back to being almost entirely woods as we continued south with just one other person on the bus.

In the little park-and-ride.
We finally got a spurt of development in the form of The Village at South County Commons, a "lifestyle center" combined with apartments. We started to see more frequent houses along the road after that, until...oh, we're at the Wakefield Mall? Alright, route over!

I guess it's just going back to Providence now...
RIPTA Route: 65x (Wakefield Express Park and Ride)

Ridership: Ridership wasn't bad! There were about 15 people on board, which is fine for an express route.

Pros: The 65x is a good express route to the southern part of Rhode Island, and it offers a decent speed increase over the 62 and 66, since it skips most of their deviations. The route has more trips than typical RIPTA express routes, with service every 15 minutes in the morning rush (six trips) and every half hour in the evening rush (five trips, spread out over a longer time period).

Cons: My trip may have just been an exception, but only one person to Wakefield Mall? That's pretty bad. There's also a random evening rush trip that runs as far as Galilee, but the schedule has no information about how long it takes - they might want to provide that. It's also strange that there's no morning equivalent from Galilee, which seems like a better way of getting people to use the service.

Nearby and Noteworthy: Honestly, most of this route is in the complete middle of nowhere! The Wakefield Mall is pretty underwhelming, too.

Final Verdict: 7/10
It's an express route that carries a good amount of people to their park-and-rides to return to their rural homes - seems good to me! It has more trips than normal RIPTA express routes, which is a plus, and its only problems don't affect the riders too much. Well...okay, a morning rush trip from Galilee seems like it would make sense, though.

Latest MBTA News: Service Updates

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Wellesley Square

For its busiest stop and its downtown, you would think Wellesley would ensure that Wellesley Square is as nice of a station as possible. A valid thought, but a wrong one...

One of the station's parking lots.
For a downtown station, Wellesley Square's 224 spaces of parking are great. They're split between two lots, and like the other Wellesley stations, you're in luck if you're a resident - parking is a buck fifty cheaper! Once again, we have strange vending machines that don't seem to work, as well. There's an MWRTA bus stop sign for the 8 on Crest Road over the station, and it's...fine.

Ohhhhhhhh noooooooooo...
Oh man, this is a bad platform. We'll start with the outbound side, which has a few ads, a wastebasket, and a few bike spaces. Cool. The inbound side, meanwhile, features two benches, a wastebasket, some ads, a map and schedule, and a dingy old bus shelter. Wait, that's it? No building to make up for how awful the rest of it is? Well...shoot.

That's a bright light!
Station: Wellesley Square

Ridership: This is by far the busiest of the Wellesley stations, with a cool 804 inbound riders every weekday.

Pros: Like the other Wellesleys, Wellesley Square is integrated pretty well with the neighborhood around it. It also has a good amount of parking.

Cons: If there's one thing I hate about in Commuter Rail stations, it's bus shelters. And the bus shelter here is so dingy! At least the other Wellesleys had a building to liven up the station a bit, but Wellesley Square? Nope, you just get a bus shelter. As usual, it's not wheelchair accessible, and I would really like it if there was better signage to the station from around the square.

Nearby and Noteworthy: Wellesley Square is really nice! Sure, it definitely has that "we're a really rich town" vibe, but it's still a great little high-end commercial district. A great thing about it is how big it is - it takes about seven minutes to walk from one end of the downtown to the other.

Final Verdict: 3/10
Sorry, Wellesley, but your stations all blow. This is the worst one, since it doesn't even have a nice building to redeem it! It doesn't help that this is by far the busiest of the three.

Latest MBTA News: Service Updates

Monday, March 12, 2018

Wellesley Hills

Wellesley Farms didn't score particularly highly with me. Will the next station, Wellesley Hills, be an improvement? Let's find out.

The station...from above.
There are two ways to get into this station. The first one is a staircase from Cliff Road, and it does its job fine. The other entrance is via the station's parking lot, which has 51 spaces, and once again, residents of Wellesley get a significant discount. There are some newspaper boxes, bike racks, and a payphone at the parking lot entrance.

Down on the platform.
Well, the outbound platform is a sign, an ad, and a wastebasket. Nice. Crossing over via a weird boardwalk, we get to the inbound platform, which has everything on the outbound, plus...a bench! Okay, there's also a station building that has a café in it, and that's pretty awesome.

What have we here?
Oho, what's this? A bus stop? Well, I do usually talk about bus connections in my reviews, so let's see what kind of complex infrastructure the MWRTA 8 has here. The Woodland-bound stop is fine, but the Natick-bound stop is...problematic. AS IN THERE ARE PARKING SPACES IN ITS WAY! They really couldn't eliminate just one or two to allow a tiny minibus to pull in on its awful terrible deviation-filled ridiculous route???????? I hate the 8, and I hate this stop!

Choo choo!
Station: Wellesley Hills

Ridership: This is the second-busiest Wellesley station, but it only beats Wellesley Farms by four people! Yes, this stop gets 562 inbound riders per weekday, compared to 558 at Wellesley Farms.

Pros: The building is nice, and I love that it has a café in it. The weird boardwalk makes it easy to cross over the tracks, and the station is well-integrated with the neighborhood around it.

Cons: This is a drab and pretty awful station. The outbound side gets nary a bench for people to wait on, so tough luck there, but it's not like the inbound side is much better! I can imagine a ton of people huddling under the tiny shelter provided by the building during rainy morning rush periods. Of course, the station isn't wheelchair accessible because of the low-level platform. Also, that bus stop...geez, that's an awful bus stop.

Nearby and Noteworthy: There are some nice businesses along Washington Street. It's nowhere near as awesome as the commercial center of Wellesley Square, but it's something.

Final Verdict: 4/10
I'm not a fan of this one either. It doesn't provide enough amenities considering the number of passengers it gets, and it just feels bleak. And of course, we have a strong contender for "worst bus stop ever," from the good ol' MWRTA!

Latest MBTA News: Service Updates
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