Monday, January 29, 2018

WRTA: 7 (Union Station Hub - Washington Heights Apartments)

Did you know that the intersection of Mill Street and Park Ave is the most dangerous intersection in the entire whole wide universe? Yes, who knew it would be in lil' ol' Worcester? Well, anyway, after taking 10 minutes to cross this abomination of suburban city planning, Nathan and I made our way from the 27 up to the terminus of the 7, Washington Heights Apartments.

An earlier bus zooming down Mill Street.
It was not the most enjoyable walk, even past the intersection of death. Mill Street was a wide busy road, and its sidewalk was miniscule. Eventually we did make it to Washington Heights Apartments, climbing up a hill to what we assumed was the first stop. It started pouring when we were waiting, and to add insult to injury, the bus was late!

Hurry up!
Now safe from the rain, we left the apartment complex down a hill and onto Mill Street. The majority of buses just go straight down, but we were on one of the rare trips (every third one) that makes an additional deviation to Coes Pond Village! Thus, we turned onto First Street, which went past houses and up a really steep hill, then we entered Coes Pond Village - it was two huge apartment buildings.

The rain made it hard to get good pictures...
We returned to First Street and went down the super steep hill, then we turned back onto Mill Street. This was a wide, ugly road lined with weird, desolate buildings with a variety of different uses. But hey, eventually it came up alongside Coes Pond, and there was even a little beach next to the road!

This was from our walk to the route, and it's far better than any of the other pictures you'll see in this review.
Mill Street got narrower after the beach, and once the pond ended, we were in a residential area...for about five seconds. We took a left turn at the Intersection of Death onto Park Ave, another ugly road with a bunch of weird buildings. We turned onto Lovell Street next, passing the Lakeside Apartments, as well as a school and some smaller triple-decker homes.

We should've just walked the whole route! It would've made for better pictures...
Going around a small rotary, we headed onto Maywood Street, which took us back to Park Ave past a strange, huge, abandoned parking lot. There was a mix of apartments and businesses along Park Ave, but we soon left it again by turning onto May Street. This took us up a hill past some dense houses, which continued as we turned onto onto Woodland Street.

Some of the dense apartments.
We eventually pulled into a deviation to serve Family Health Center, a hospital, which took us onto Queen Street. Next, we turned onto Chandler Street, which had just about everything: industrial buildings, retail, and apartments all lined the road. Once we turned onto Main Street, though, we were right in downtown Worcester, and there were tall buildings and businesses on either side. Nathan and I got off at Worcester City Hall, but the Central Hub was only minutes away.

Hey, it stopped raining!
WRTA Route: 7 (Union Station Hub - Washington Heights Apartments)

Ridership: The 7 is fittingly the seventh-busiest route on the WRTA, getting itself a sizeable 814 riders per weekday, 330 per Saturday, and 137 per Sunday. My trip only had three people, but I'm sure others are busier!

Pros: The route serves some very dense Worcester neighborhoods, and it does so surprisingly frequently: service is every half hour on weekdays, while on weekends it's every hour.

Cons: The WRTA does this weird thing where they'll have "consistent" headways that actually shift around by five minutes, and the 7 has it particularly bad - weekday evenings just throw any kind of consistency out the window. Also, why do the Washington Heights Apartments get full service while Coes Pond Village only gets a bus every 90 minutes or worse? They seem to me like they have equal populations.

Nearby and Noteworthy: For some reason, most of the main streets the 7 uses are really ugly, with some awful-looking businesses. That being said, it does serve Coes Pond Beach, which would be a fun place to take the bus to.

Final Verdict: 6/10
There's a lot wrong with this twisty route. For one thing, service to Coes Pond Village is really inconsistent and weird - though you can request any outbound bus to deviate to it, inbound service only comes every 90 minutes or worse, like I said. Also, it's really annoying to rely on a route that almost has clockface headways but they're actually all over the place. How hard would it be to straighten those out?

Latest MBTA News: Service Updates

2 comments:

  1. My bus! You nailed it.

    ReplyDelete
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