If you read the 40’s post, I mention how it interlines with the 18 and how the two neighborhoods they primarily serve (the East Side for the 40, Silver Lake and Arlington for the 18) are very different. Don’t get me wrong, the neighborhoods the 18 serves aren’t terrible by any means, but it’s still quite evident there’s major differences between the two. Let’s get into it, shall we?
To even get here, I took the 17 all the way up to Dyer Ave. and Chestnut Hill Ave., which is the 18’s terminus. Not too annoying, but certainly could be worse. (I’m looking at you, 10X and 59X!!!) So, we’re working with a route that’s called “Union Ave.”, so why doesn’t it start at Union Ave.? Well, I don’t know. Oh, the bus is here, time to get on it!
The route begins with a right turn down Chestnut Hill Avenue. Now, from here it’s largely all residential. There’s some businesses mixed in (like the florist and barber shop on Dyer Ave.) but not much else. There’s the occasional business down Laurel Hill Ave., but again it’s mostly residential. Eventually, though, we made it to Union Ave.
Eventually, we took a right down Union Ave. And down, I mean quite literally. We were at the top of a hill, and there was only one way to go. As we progressed down Union Ave., more and more businesses started coming up, mostly locally-owned. There was also a Shell, before the interchange with RI-10.
Of course, we ended up taking …a left turn down Ellery Street? Yeah, I’m confused on that one too. It’s largely houses yet again, and …another right turn down Chapin Ave.??? Okay? Eventually, though, and thankfully, we made it to Cranston Street. It was home stretch as from here, it was largely a straight shot through here, Westminster Street, and Washington Street to Kennedy Plaza, largely replicating the 31‘s routing.
From here, the bus would continue its journey as the 40 through the East Side.
The good: It’s a more direct connection to Providence for those that live along the route, without needing to walk as far. The terrain certainly wouldn’t help, especially during the winter months. The 492 people who use it on weekdays (as of 2019) probably appreciate the fact the route exists, although I don’t know stats on how many use the shared section with the 31, verseus the sections along Union and Laurel Hill Avenues.
The bad: The route doesn’t need to exist, given its location close to the 17 and 31. But, the ridership does show there is demand for such a route. It’s also weirdly indirect, being my biggest complaint about the route. Plus, there’s no Sunday service for some reason.
Nearby points of interest: A couple of parks at Dyer Ave., a few businesses along Laurel Hill and Union Ave’s., plus the Cranston St. Armory.
Overall, it’s not a bad route. It doesn’t need to exist, but the existence is still justified by the fact just under 500 people use it each day. And, I’m sure for many during the winter, when the hills are slippery, this route is more of a lifeline than ever to save them from walking as far. Plus, unlike the 40, it runs on weekends….though on Saturdays only.