Alrighty, the 261! This one was a bit tricky given the bus was PACKED. But, here we go!
So, once we finally got moving, we moved down Temple St, MLK Jr. Blvd., and then a left onto York Street. Passing by Yale-New Haven Hospital, the bus got even more full, and we pressed on. Of course, we were inching up Howard Ave. towards Sylvian Ave., but eventually we made it. As several stops, there were a trade of people where some got off and others got on, which persisted until we got out of New Haven. Naturally, the area was residential, and we took a few turns to Winthrop Avenue, down a one-way frontage road that’s for a nonexistent freeway, and down Governor Ella Grasso Blvd. This area was largely all park and cemetery, until we got to Route 1. Then we were in stroad hell.
So now that we were on Route 1, it was much of the same to the end, where it’s probably not worth even going into detail about. Businesses on either side generally, oversized road, a devi- wait WHAT?!
We deviated INTO A RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOOD. But, there’s a good reason. This was to serve what I suspect is probably a section 8 complex. It’s the only conceivable reason for this deviation, and hey it gets a decent amount of ridership so I’ll let it slide.
So, back to the usual. We go down US-1, stroad, stores on either side, yadda yadda yadda, copy-paste. Eventually, we make it to the Post Mall and it’s the end of the route.
The good: Well, it deviates into an apartment complex! It also links downtown New Haven with a bunch of shopping along a stroad, as well as malls. Oh yeah, there’s also a rush hour express variant which runs 2x daily each direction (weekdays only), which is nice.
The bad: This ain’t the fault of the 261, but it feels LONG, given the fact it’s just overly wide stroads once you get on Route 1. It also is kinda long though, with a prescribed runtime of about 40 minutes, but that’s normal. Point is, it feels longer than it really is. I seriously can’t help but think if New Haven (& surrounding areas) get rapid transit in the form of either light rail or subways, this should be a major stop given the high ridership of the 261.
Nearby points of interest: You got Yale Hospital, along with the University of New Haven, the mall, and a section 8 apartment complex!
Overall, it’s a good route. It tries its best, but it feels longer than it really is, and to be quite real, I feel this would be better paralleling rapid transit given the insanely high ridership. (unless my trip was an exception). It’s also nice there’s an express variant.