Tuesday, September 19, 2017

PVTA: R10 (Westfield/Westfield State University/West Springfield/via Route 20)

Thank goodness for my B23 being 20 minutes early! I was prepared to wait a really long time for the next R10, but thanks to a ridiculously early bus, I had time to both review the Olver Transit Pavilion and catch the previous R10! This is a route that runs every 60 minutes, keep in mind.

The bus at Westfield State University.
I took the bus out to Westfield State University, then after taking a quick picture, we were ready to go. From Scanlon Hall, we headed down Western Ave, going by Westfield State buildings for a little while. After that, it was nice houses, at least until a big cemetery, where we merged onto Court Street.

The cemetery.
There were more houses and a hospital, then we started to pass a few businesses, as well as Westfield City Hall. Court Street started to get a lot wider, but before it gained a full-on median, we turned onto Washington Street. After a church, a police station, an apartment building, and some houses, we turned onto Arnold Street, which took us back around onto Elm Street to serve the Olver Transit Pavilion.

A common in downtown Westfield.
We headed down Elm Street, passing lots of businesses, then we made our way around a modern common (Park Square). After a few businesses, we merged onto Main Street, but we turned off to serve a Stop & Shop. Once that lovely deviation was over, we returned to Main Street, where there were suburban businesses with parking lots.

Case in point...
It was residential, and the houses continued as we turned onto Meadow Street (there's another variation of the R10 that just stays on Main). There was some retail along here, too, as well as the Westfield Food Pantry. We approached another park, where we turned onto Union Ave, going over the Westfield River.

The bridge over the river.
Next, we turned onto Union Street, which was kind of a weird mix of houses, huge industrial buildings, and apartment developments. It got more industrial as we continued, with a few...random fields mixed in too. Of all things, though, there was just a mini-golf course in the middle of it all? Alright, well, we got some woods after that strange sight, then there were some businesses and industries as we turned onto Springfield Road.

Looking down Springfield Road.
We were running alongside a train track, then the road got wider for a Walmart. Oh...and we had to deviate into it. After serving the big box behemoth, we returned to Springfield Road for about 0.2 seconds before yet another deviation. This time, it was on East Mountain Road, which went under the train tracks in a tunnel that wasn't even wide enough for two cars to pass each other, let alone a car and a truck!

Yeah, why don't you go first?
This deviation took us up to Western Mass Hospital and East Mountain View Apartments, the latter of which we looped around in. Next, we came back to Springfield Road, which kept going along those train tracks with the Westfield River on the other side. The road became Westfield Street when we entered West Springfield, and we made a few curves past various types of buildings and over the train tracks.

Another narrow tunnel under the tracks!
There was some retail after the train bridge, but now it was all residential. For a while, we were just going by suburban houses until the intersection with Kings Highway, where we got some businesses. There were more businesses as we continued down Westfield Street, but also a few more houses and apartment developments.

Some power wires bisecting a neighborhood.
Eventually we got a line of retail, then an industrial/apartment development break, then retail again. We turned onto Elm Street, which featured a wide median, then we turned onto Park Ave, which featured a wider median! After that, we turned onto Main Street, running through a mostly residential neighborhood.

Now that's what I call a median!
Businesses started to get more abundant between the houses, and after going under some train tracks, we turned onto Memorial Ave next to a shopping plaza. We went around a rotary, then crossed over Memorial Bridge into Springfield proper. Once there, we turned onto Main Street, and after passing tall buildings, businesses, and offices, we came into Union Station.

The back of the bus.
PVTA Route: PVTA: R10 (Westfield/Westfield State University/West Springfield/via Route 20)

Ridership: The R10 gets heavy student ridership from Westfield State University as well as commuters from Westfield. This all amounts to about 24 passengers per revenue hour.

Pros: This is an important link from Springfield to Westfield, and it's one of two buses that connect the town to the outside world (the other being the B23). The academic year frequencies are pretty good, with service every 20-30 minutes during the rushes and every 60 minutes during the day, on Saturdays, and on Sundays. On school year weekdays, the R10 only goes as far as Westfield Center, while the R10S shuttle runs every half hour from there to the university.

Cons: The summer weekday schedule is pretty weird, with frequencies randomly shifting between every hour and every 45 minutes. Also, this is one of those routes where each trip is defined by a bunch of different letters representing routings and deviations. Do you have an "SWE" trip? Or a "UWE" trip? Or maybe an "SWR" trip? Have fun constantly referring to the bottom of the schedule to find out what these all mean!

Nearby and Noteworthy: Westfield is a decent town center, and this is the best way of getting there. There isn't all that much of note along the route's independent section, though.

Final Verdict: 7/10
Westfield doesn't have many options for transit, so the R10 link is crucial. Since most of its riders are going from Springfield to Westfield, the strange letters on the schedule don't usually matter too much, but it's just such a pain to read. The summer schedule is also just...weird, but at least it makes sense during the school year!

Latest MBTA News: Service Updates
Thanks for all the positive comments and feedback about finishing the bus system. Yesterday the blog got its highest daily viewers - 9,989! So close to 10,000, but that's okay - thank you to everyone for reading and following my adventures!

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