Thursday, November 2, 2017

PVTA: WS (Ware Shuttle)

Oh no oh no oh no OH NO OH NO OH NO! NOT ANOTHER ONE! NOT ANOTHER DEVIATORY MINIBUS SHUTTLE THING! All I can say about the Ware Shuttle is...beWare!!! Ha!

OH MY GOD WHAT IS THAT??
This was quite possibly the worst minibus, and indeed the worst BUS, I've ever been on in my life. The vehicle that the shuttle normally uses was out of service, I guess, so they had to use this horrible piece of trash. The seats were falling apart, the heat was blasting, the smell was disgusting, and...did somebody say JIGGLY WHEELCHAIR LIFTS?

EWWWWWW!!!!!!
We made our way out of the Ware Walmart and went onto Palmer Road, traversing the one section of the route where the bus can actually move quickly and doesn't have to deviate. It was mostly residential, but we also passed a church, a few businesses, and a school. After approximately three minutes of relative happiness, it was all crushed by another deviation.

WHAT IS THIS???
Yes, we were getting our obligatory senior center deviation out of the way early...but what kind of senior center is this? The Ware Senior Center was by far the most decrepit senior center I've ever seen. I mean, is this even safe for its visitors?? No wonder the bus has to deviate to it; I hate imagining some poor old lady trying to walk across that uneven parking lot!

Right into another one...
We returned to what was now called West Street for literally one block before turning onto Homecrest Ave, then deviating into the Ware Big Y. Sigh...yeah, this route really lays on the deviations. Luckily, once we came back onto West Street, we could make the trip into Ware Center deviation-free, passing some businesses and later, dense houses.

Coming into Ware Center.
We turned onto Main Street, running right down the main drag of Ware. Just like Palmer, this was a boring and pretty run-down town, but it did at least have more occupied retail buildings. We turned onto South Street, which went over the Ware River and past some old factories.

Okay, no idea what the heck is going on here...
Deviation time! We turned onto Monroe Street, which, after a few twists and turns, led us to Valley View, a small housing development. Great. We came back to South Street and proceeded through a residential area for a few blocks before...oh, now we're doing a hospital deviation? Sigh...alright...

The Mary Lane Hospital entrance.
From here, we made our way up Chestnut Street, a mostly residential road with a random horse stable along it! We turned onto Maple Street next, which got pretty industrial as it became Knox Ave and came up alongside a train track. We then turned back onto Main Street, going over the Ware River and coming back into the center.

An industrial/mountain view, I guess?
Next, we turned onto Church Street, which did indeed go by a church, but it was mostly lined with dense houses. At one point we had to deviate to serve the Church Street School, a senior housing building, and soon after that, we turned onto Highland Street. We didn't stay on that for long, though, since we had to do another deviation, this time to serve the Highland Village Apartments.

Leaving the development.
After coming out of the apartment complex, we did a really weird deviation that doesn't appear on the route map or schedule or anything! Basically, we turned north onto North Street, going away from Ware Center, and it was essentially just houses and woods. We turned onto Sheehy Road next, then Pond Brook Park - the whole area was really weird and desolate, and all we were serving was a few mobile homes. I have no idea what this was all about, but...uh...we did it!

WHY???
After that madness, we just came back down North Street and continued with the route like nothing happened. We went by the Hillside Village Apartments without deviating, Thank goodness! It was nice to be able to pass an apartment complex without having to go and serve it. So, we were now in a residential neighborhood full of dense houses, then we turned onto Cottage Street, Smith Ave, and Convent Hill Road, serving...HILLSIDE VILLAGE APARTMENTS? I'm sorry, was it really necessary for the bus to go past the development for three blocks, then just circle around and serve it anyway? That was just a horrible, dirty trick!

Can we go somewhere now?
We came back to Ware Center for the third time of the trip, turning once again onto Main Street. We left the downtown and it got residential pretty quickly, but there was still the important Ware Gun Shop among the houses. It's so weird seeing that kind of thing, coming from the city and all.

Some houses.
We turned onto Eagle Street, then Ware Brook Drive - it was a deviation to serve the Warebrook Village housing development. I do love me some deviating! We returned to Main Street after that, then made our way down Vernon Street to come back to West Street. On the way back, we had to do those same annoying deviations to Big Y and the disgusting Ware Senior Center.

Hello darkness, my old friend.
From there, we made our way back to the Ware Walmart...except this trip was continuing on to the Palmer Big Y! Awesome, let's get going! Oh...we're 16 minutes early? Sigh...time to hang out at Walmart. PVTA Syndrome never goes away...

I already covered the trip from Walmart to Big Y in my Palmer Village Bus review, so we'll just admire this monstrosity at Walmart one more time.
PVTA Route: WS (Ware Shuttle)

Ridership: There are no online ridership statistics for the Ware Shuttle, but I know that on my trip, the ridership was lower than that of the Palmer Shuttle. You may recall that the Palmer Shuttle got about seven riders, so...yeah, that's quite bad.

Pros: It serves Ware. That's really about it.

Cons: THE DEVIATIONS ON THIS ROUTE ARE INSANE! It feels like you're going somewhere the whole time, like maybe you might actually be making some progress on the route, but you're not - the route's maddening loop around Ware is only 1.5 miles from north to south, yet it takes about 45 minutes to do the whole thing (an hour and 15 minutes if you continue to Palmer)! Also, did you know that walking from Hillside Village to the Mary Lane Hospital takes about half the time of the bus? I'm sure a lot of people would use that connection, too!

Also, the route's schedule is pretty bad - not as bad as the PV, but still pretty bad. The first three trips are great, with consistent hourly service, but once the route starts getting extended to Palmer every other trip, it falls apart. Basically, it runs about every hour and a half when trips run to Palmer, and about every hour when they don't, but it's not at all consistent. Coordination with the Palmer Shuttle isn't great, either, but that's mostly because the PV's schedule is so nonsensical.

Oh, by the way, why the heck did we make that weird trailer park deviation? That made no sense!

Nearby and Noteworthy: Eh, Ware's a pretty boring town. At least Palmer has trains!

Final Verdict: 2/10
This route is evil. Pure evil. It has so many deviations within a really small radius, so all it does is lead to insanely long rides for everyone. And everyone is barely anyone, because this route's ridership is really low! I mean, it exists, which is why this isn't a 1, but still, it's really low. Oh, that bus was so bad! I really hope the one they normally use is better, because geez Louise, I couldn't take it. This route sucks.

Latest MBTA News: Service Updates

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