Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Harvard Shuttle: Extended Overnight (Quad - Mather House via Memorial Hall)

We're taking a break from the PVTA for just a bit while I work on a huge review that I think all you guys will really like! In the meantime, let's look at this piece of trash.

Comin' round the bend.
The Extended Overnight is Harvard's overnight bus (obviously), running from around 1 AM to 4 AM (5 on Saturday and Sunday mornings) on a strange, loopy, deviatory route around the entirety of Harvard Square. Nathan, Sam, and I took this route before doing the 171, because...well, why not? We boarded at the Quad at 3:10 in the morning.

No buses coming out of here at this time of night!
From the Quad, we made our way down to Garden Street, which was briefly residential before we came up alongside Cambridge Common. We looped all the way around, circling the Harvard Bus Tunnel and running up Mass Ave. It wasn't for long, though - we turned onto Everett Street, then Oxford Street, going by various Harvard buildings.

Uhhhh...trippy?
We turned onto Kirkland Street, then we pulled into the Memorial Hall deviation...and had to wait, because we were early. Well, gosh, I might as well be reviewing a PVTA route, since clearly Harvard took a page out of their book! We finally left and made a loop around the block via Quincy Street, Cambridge Street, Prescott Street, and Broadway, before coming back to the one-way Quincy.

The Yahd!
We were alongside Harvard Yard now, and we continued our loop around its perimeter by heading onto Mass Ave. We ran past the Holyoke Gate stop, however the route bypasses it, because...no, I have no idea why it does that. We turned onto Dunster Street, then Mount Auburn Street, going by smaller, more local Harvard Square businesses.

The intersection of Mount Auburn, Bow, and Linden Streets...duh!!! It's so obvious from the picture!
Next, we turned onto Dewolfe Street, then Cowperthwaite Street, which took us to Mather House...and we were early again! Oh boy! After a wait, we had to deviate to serve Peabody Terrace (or "Peobody" in the schedule - good one, guys), so we turned onto Banks Street. Upon reaching the stop, we just...did a three-point turn to turn around. Sigh...

The driver graciously let me take a picture at Mather House!
We went up Banks Street until Mount Auburn Street, where we looped around to Mass Ave for the third time on the trip. We took this up towards Harvard Square, but we got off at the stop just before it, at the intersection with Quincy Street. The bus continued towards Harvard, where it would eventually go back up to the Quad.

Goodbye, you rascal.
Harvard Shuttle Route: Extended Overnight (Quad - Mather House via Memorial Hall)

Ridership: On the outbound trip to the Quad, there was one person who got off. For our entire ride, there was absolutely no one. Yes, folks, this route truly gets amazing ridership.

Pros: It does provide overnight service to Harvard, but as we'll see, this doesn't mean much...

Cons: Okay, first of all, the route is a loopy mess. It's literally faster to walk to your destination than take the bus a lot of the time! Also, why the heck is it every thirty-five minutes? I mean, this thing definitely has at least five minutes of waiting time - it could easily be cut down to every 30 minutes to simplify the schedule. Finally,and here's the real kicker, why does this route run at all? Harvard provides an evening on-demand van service for all students and faculty that can be called with a special app - why isn't this just the only service? It would get people to their destinations much faster, plus it would save the university money by not having to run the Extended Overnight around in circles all night!

Nearby and Noteworthy: I don't know what you're doing up at 3 AM, but if you are, all of Harvard Square is at your fingertips with this route!

Final Verdict: 1/10
Cut it. Cut it. Cut it. Okay, I know there's probably some political reason that this route needs to exist, but why? The evening van can literally perform all of its functions more directly and more efficiently. That's right, I am actually calling a flex service more efficient than a fixed-route service. That's how bad this route is!

Latest MBTA News: Service Updates

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