Friday, August 29, 2014

95 (West Medford - Sullivan Square Station via Mystic Ave)

I've made it clear that I really hate those neighborhoods with all those fast food restaurants and auto shops that all have really big parking lots out front. They usually come up for somewhat short periods in comparison with the rest of the route. But not the 95, though. From Medford Square all the way down to Sullivan this is purely that kind of neighborhood. So fasten your seatbelts (or not, our buses don't have the amenities that Montpelier's have) and let's take a ride on the 95.

It starts out at the intersection of Playstead Road and Winthrop Street, right where the 326 dropped me off. So we headed back down Playstead Road, going through the only nice residential area seen on the entire route. We went past West Medford Station and the businesses surrounding it, and after some more houses came into Medford Square.

This was all very nice, with cute small businesses without - and I can't stress this enough - overly large parking lots. But then we turned onto Main Street (Stop! You don't know what you're doing!), went over the Mystic River (Listen to me! Turn around!) and under Mystic Valley Parkway (Don't do it!), and merged onto Mystic Ave (Too late!).

Do we really need so many auto shops? The "businesses" along Mystic Ave were, like, 50 percent auto shops. And the rest was just parking lots and fast food restaurants and parking lots and storage warehouses and parking lots and PARKING LOTS. This is the epitome of pit, people. And as I look on the map, there's a nice residential area less than a block away!

But I digress. There was a pseudo-reprieve with some projects, but then it went back know what, this time with an elevated highway on one side. Lovely. We made a stop somewhat close to Assembly Square and then the road went up to parallel the highway. We went without stops until Sullivan, though the outbound route takes a different street and makes stops. I assume that when the Orange Line station opens the 95 will be rerouted to serve it, but that may be pointless since it goes to Sullivan anyway. And speaking of Sullivan, the road we were on merged onto Maffa Way, where we then turned into the busway.

Back in West Medford, the bus manages to take a huge u-turn.
Route: 95 (West Medford - Sullivan Square Station via Mystic Ave)

Ridership: It was surprisingly decent; about 20 people rode the bus. They all seemed to feed on at various stops, and I don't think a single person got off before Sullivan.

Pros: I ranted about the road it travels along for this entire review, but this bus does serve a lot. There are residential areas tucked behind the awful auto shops, and this is the only non-rush hour bus to serve Playstead Road. The schedule's decent enough: it's every 20 minutes rush hours and every half hour weekdays and Saturdays. It has a good service span, too, with the first bus leaving Sullivan at 4:55 and the last at 1:05.

Cons: It's every hour during the night and every 65 minutes on Sundays. That Sunday schedule in particular is pretty bad.

Nearby and Noteworthy: Ha! Yeah, right.

Final Verdict: 7/10
I really hated that neighborhood. I hated it with a passion. But there's no denying that the bus itself is pretty good, and those residential areas behind the auto shops need to get served. The Sunday schedule drags the score down a bit, but overall this bus isn't bad at all.

Latest MBTA News: Service Updates
The MBTA is ordering new buses! They're all due to arrive by February 2015. Also, the MBTA is getting a new station on September 2nd when Assembly Square finally opens to the public.

1 comment:

  1. The 95 has not been rerouted to serve assembly square, and it's not going to because there's no reason to and the road really doesn't allow it going south.

    It's possible to get from assembly and turn west (northwest) onto mystic avenue (for that matter the 95 going north very nearly already does this). But if you want to come east on mystic, and turn on 28 towards assembly, you either need to get to broadway and turn around, or else take the 93 service road until basically just before sullivan and turn around.


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