Ah, the 49. Such a lovely route…or is it? Let’s take a look.
The journey begins at Kennedy Plaza’s Stop Y….for some reason. Why is beyond me, when stops I and J would’ve been fine enough. Plus, don’t the long-haul routes usually board at the far side of the plaza? Anyways, enough of that. This route is among the most notorious routes, not because of the difficulty of riding it, but rather because of the fact it literally has no reason whatsoever to exist. Why? I’ll get to that later. But first, the trip.
The bus ride begins at stop Y, then takes a turn onto Washington Street. From here, it goes straight into the tunnel. I swear, it’d be better for this route to be at the I or J berths. We go through the tunnel, then out we appear at Thayer Street.
Thayer Street is typically known for all the college-oriented activities, as both Brown and RISD are in the area. However, we aren’t here for that. We hooked two lefts and went up the much quieter Brook Street. Soon enough, it became Hope Street and we passed Hope HS. We effectively followed the 1’s routing from here until we reached Doyle Avenue, at which we turned left down. It was primarily residential in nature with the occasional business, playground, or church. Soon enough, we reached the route’s namesake and hooked a right onto Camp Street. Still, it was largely residential with the same mix of buildings. We then took a left onto Rochambeau Avenue, and a right onto North Main, following the R Line briefly. The shared routing, however, was very short and we then turned down 3rd Street. We made a couple of more turns, and soon enough we reached Miriam Hospital, marking the end.
The good: It serves the front door of Miriam Hospital, I guess?
The bad: It has no reason to exist. The schedule is unservicable for a local route. Just look:
Why? Just, why? Also, I’ll add that the route’s brochure is grossly outdated as well. The 1 isn’t even on the pamphlet, but rather in its place is the old 42 (merged with the 1). Hell, not even the R Line or the 99 is on it. And, as I said earlier, it’s an up to 10 minute walk to either the 1 or the R Line, both of which run far more frequently (20 minutes and 10 minutes on weekdays, respectively.) AND run on weekends! Like, I could see the case for turning another route (e.g. the 58 or the 71) into a crosstown that services Miriam, but this route has no reason to even exist!
Nearby points of interest: The R Line and the 1. Thayer Street (accessible by a number of other, more frequent routes). Miriam Hospital, even, but even that is better served by the 1 and R Line.
Overall, WHY DOES THIS ROUTE EVEN EXIST?! Like, it’s got NO reason to exist whatsoever. It’s literally sandwiched between the 1 and the R Line, runs waaaay less frequently than either (3 times inbound and only twice outbound – mind you, this isn’t an express!), and lastly it’s literally a short enough walk from Miriam to get to either the 1 or R Line! And, if you DO need transit, you probably need RIde paratransit, rather than a 40ft Gillig BRT bus. I guess even RIPTA found it useless because it’s currently on the chopping block for the proposed service changes this summer. Why it didn’t get axed with the 79 all those years ago is beyond me. Hell, even the ridership shows that it’s useless, averaging 24 people each trip as of 2019, making it the 2nd least used route (with only the 10X being under it)
UPDATE 6/10/22: The route is finally being axed, with the last runs in a week from today. With this in mind, the score is being adjusted.
Original rating: 1/10