The 11 is one of Downtown Crossing’s handful of bus connections, and it runs all the way into South Boston. Riding this was my first time in Southie proper. So, let’s take a look, shall we?
So, starting off, the 11 originates at the intersection of Chauncy and Summer Streets in the heart of downtown. Which, this section already leads to some weirdness. The 11 heading out runs via South Station and the Seaport, while into DTX it runs via Washington Street, with Broadway being where the one-way nonsense starts/ends. Speaking of which, once it reaches Broadway, it runs down West 7th Street through some very residential and quiet neighborhoods. Eventually, it reaches 8th Street, where the bulk of the ridership got off, before looping up by the area’s beaches and into the City Point bus terminal.
The good: It serves the southern part of South Boston, which is otherwise unserved! Weekday and Saturday headways are also good!
The bad: Really? Why the loop? Is it the one-way streets downtown? Also, almost-hourly headways on Sundays? Really?
Nearby points of interest: Washington Street, South Station, Broadway, Downtown, and various parks and beaches in South Boston!
Overall, it’s alright. I don’t have too much to add out of unfamiliarity with the area.
Oh, City Point, how there be seemingly nothing major around it to be worth sticking around (as of me writing this). So, after going there, I was hoping to take the 7 back to Downtown Crossing, but that wasn’t going to happen given its headways, and the 9 was next. So, onwards to Copley Square I go!
So, the 9 goes down P Street and East Broadway. At this point, a few people start getting on the bus and it gets a little full, and from here we continue passing by the many shops lining the road. Eventually, a young lady calls out a guy for taking pics of her, with him denying. “What a creep.” I thought to myself, as I give him the death glare. Soon enough, we turn onto West Broadway, and eventually pull into the Broadway Red Line station. And from here, the route gets a little weird. You see, runs towards City Point go via Herald Street and straight past Broadway, while runs towards Copley have to do a loop to safely serve the station before proceeding up East Berkeley Street. After a bit further, as we crawl through the South End and into Back Bay, we eventually reach and loop around Copley Square, terminating at the Dartmouth Street bus stop outside the Boston Public Library.
The good: It’s an important connection between South Boston and Copley Square, as well as the Red Line and Green Line! Headways and service span are also pretty decent as well!
The bad: It’s annoying how the bus goes down separate roads. The loop is also annoying but it exists for safety reasons.
Nearby points of interest: A few parks in South Boston, Copley Square, and the subway connections. Southampton, if you’re a railfan.
Overall, while I can’t think of any reason for myself to visit South Boston, the route definitely has its uses and gets quite a bit of ridership, given the areas it serve are well populated.
Alrighty, new territory time! This time, we’re in South Boston at City Point. So, what’s here? Uhhhhh…
Actually, there’s not much here. Just some facilities for buses to dwell and other MBTA-related maintenance facilities it looks like. Yeah, I actually don’t have much to remark other than that it seems like a nice enough neighborhood. You got bus shelters!
The good: It’s in South Boston!
The bad: Eh, it doesn’t feel like the best of places to wait. The only thing keeping this from being lower is that it’s not signed as a proper rapid transit station (nor is it one). Still, it doesn’t seem like the kind of place I’d want to wait for extended periods of time.
Alrighty, the granddad of the MBTA bus network, and quite possibly one of the highest-ridership buses! So, let’s get into it. The routing for this bus is pretty simple: a straight shot down Massachusetts Avenue from Harvard to Nubian Square. In the process, intersecting with all the lines except the Blue. So, here we go.
Turning down Mt. Auburn Street, it quickly became Massachusetts Avenue, and at this hour there was a lot of traffic. One thing this route is notorious for is bunching. I think my bus was a good 10 minutes or so behind schedule too, so there’s that. As we passed down Massachusetts Avenue slowly, there were a number of businesses and places of interest, and eventually we crossed the Grand Junction after passing Central Square. By this point, the bus was PACKED, like, less than standing room packed. Fortunately, after crossing the Harvard Bridge, this didn’t last too terribly long (but felt like an eternity) as we started hitting all the rapid transit connections in quick succession: Hynes for the B/C/D branches, Symphony and the Christian Science HQ for the E branch, Mass. Ave. for the Orange, and again for the Silver. We’d go under the Boston Medical Center, turn down Albany Street, and meet with the Silver Line again at Nubian, ending the route.
The good: It’s a straight shot from Harvard, hitting all the rapid transit lines (except the Blue). Furthermore, it’s quite frequent! However…
The bad: WHY IS IT USING ONLY FOURTY FOOT BUSES?! THESE DAMN THINGS GET TO CRUSH LOAD EASILY DURING PEAK HOURS. FURTHERMORE, THERE’S NO SEMBLANCE OF TRANSIT PRIORITY WHATSOEVER! LIKE PLEASE, CAMBRIDGE! PLEASE, BOSTON! PUT MEDIAN-RUNNING BUS LANES ON MASSACHUSETTS AVENUE!!!! BETTER YET, THIS ROUTE IS THE KIND OF ROUTE THAT SHOULD BE PART OF A NON-DOWNTOWN CENTRIC RAPID TRANSIT LINE! LIKE PLEASE, JUST PLEASE!!! PUT THE 1 OUT OF IT’S CRUSH-LOAD MISERY!!!!!
Nearby points of interest: There’s some interesting businesses in Central Square and in Back Bay!
Overall, this route is a case of something that’s out-grown its original purpose. While buses are fine, this route is a poor use of them and where a subway line would do miles better.
Now, with the route being numbered 69, I’m sure some people might be expecting a few sexual references littered throughout this post. However, due to various rules and regulations surrounding rating systems, I’m keeping this blog at an R rating max, and not NC17. Sorry! And, even then, the R rating primarily pertains to the excessive cursing from my sailor mouth, not an abundance of references to drugs, sex, or anything else that could bump the rating to NC17. With that in mind, here’s the 69. (hehe, nice…) Service, to Harvard, from Lechmere.
So, the funny sex bus numbered route 69 runs between Lechmere and Harvard in a straight line down Cambridge Street. In terms of how it is, it’s pretty tame, with the occasional business. Let’s see, you have REI, CVS, various restaurants, and even the grandest of junctions! YES, you can get off and railfan the Grand Junction if you time it right! However, Kendall Square is typically regarded as the better location. Crossing the tracks, it’s much of the same, we pass through Inman Square, and eventually we pull into Harvard. Weirdly enough, this route doesn’t terminate in the busway but rather on the street.
The good: It’s a straight shot to Lechmere and Harvard, serving Inman Square! Headways are also pretty good, being every 10-20 minutes! It’s also usually a quick shot between the two stations.
The bad: Eh, nighttime and Sunday headways can be kinda bad, and crowding can be a concern…
Nearby points of interest: Harvard Square and the various businesses lining Cambridge Street.
Overall, it’s a quick ride. Not a lot to say about it, short and direct.
Paul Revere was an American Revolutionary war hero, famous for his “THE REDCOATS ARE COMING!” alert and midnight run going into the Battles of Lexington and Concord. He was also a well-known smith and a member of the Sons of Liberty, a loosely organized and oftentimes violent political organization during the American colonial era. So….
What the HELL does that have anything to do with what I write about here? Well, I’ll tell you what: There’s a bus company bearing his name! Furthermore, they operate the 712 and 713 in Winthrop! So, let’s look at this weird route.
So, while the 120 boards in the Bennington Street busway, the 712 and 713 board on the Saratoga Street busway (on the outbound side of the Blue Line tracks). Kinda odd, but oh well. From here, the two routes continue on straight into Winthrop and, soon enough, split at Walden Street. In essence, each bus does a loop around the town, with the 712 going up Revere Street and Shirley Street, and the 713 going down Walden and Pauline Streets, and Washington Avenue. Several runs (including the 712 I was on) terminate at the intersection of Washington and Shirley, while a number of runs of both routes continue down to Point Shirley. As for the areas, it’s all residential and small town stuff with a few beaches and the Winthrop Ferry terminal- wait, what?!
YOU MEAN TO TELL ME, THERE’S A FERRY TERMINAL BY POINT SHIRLEY AND I NEED TO REVIEW IT?! GOD-FUCKING-DAMMIT! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA WHY DO THESE KEEP CROPPING UP ON ME?!
Okay, Chelsea, you’ll be fine. It’s just an extra ferry terminal…..or, three, AS THERE’S ONE AT THE SEAPORT AND QUINCY! Ugh….
The good: It serves Winthrop pretty thoroughly, is REALLY frequent (about every few minutes during peak hours, and every 15-20 offpeak on weekdays, with every 45 minutes on Saturdays and 40 on Sundays?!) Now, mind you, this is the shared bits of the route. Those headways suck on the (admittedly short) independent sections on weekends, but that could also be me misinterpreting the timetable. But again, I have to say, for a suburban route, the weekday service is REALLY good. Did I mention the span of service too? Last bus departs at 1:10 or whenever the last train departs Orient Heights on weekdays and Saturdays, with service starting at 5 AM. Sunday service starts at 6-7AM, so it isn’t as good, but still with the 1:10 AM last run. Now, I don’t know if this is the doing of the MBTA or Paul Revere, but holy CRAP this is good!
The bad: The independent sections’ headways can kinda suck on weekends.
Nearby points of interest: Orient Heights (the station) and the entire town of Winthrop. Seriously, I need to check out this town more in the future! Also, Point Shirley seems cool based on street view data!
Overall, I really like this route, and I like the town of Winthrop enough to want to return. This route is a golden child of an MBTA bus done right, in spite of being operated by Paul Revere Transportation. Certainly, a lot better than the 114.
Alrighty, so now onto the 120! I’ve had a little bit of interest in this one after reading Miles’ entry on it and seeing that one can get a nice shot of the city from a particular spot accessible by this bus route. So, how IS the route? Let’s look.
So, while the route’s “official” starting point is in Maverick, coming from Orient Heights the route loops around Jeffries Point. I didn’t, but some Street View imagery suggests I wasn’t missing out on a lot as it’s very residential. However, we quickly went up Meridian Street and turned down Bennington Street, which would be the main road down East Boston. Going down here, there’s not a lot that isn’t special, but it is a lot of businesses on either side. In a sense, it’s like Main Street. That, is, until we reach Chelsea Street. Once we got there, we’d cross it, turn onto a stroad (still Bennington St.!), go underneath US-1A, and deviate into Wood Island. From here, all seemed normal enough, passing the overpass to Constitution Beach (which I heard is a nice planespotting location!). Then we deviated into Orient Heights and the route is over, right?
NOPE! The route then continues back, up Boardman Street and towards US-1A, turns down US-1A, and does a loop around the very residential Orient Heights neighborhood, serving some housing projects and, most notably, the shrine of Madonna, Queen of the Universe (yes, it’s actually called that!). I elected to get off the bus at the Madonna Cross and walk the rest of the way (although I ended at Suffolk Downs since Google insisted on steep unpaved roads). There WAS, however, one issue I observed with this.
THE DAMN ROAD IS TOO STEEP AT SOME TURNS! MY DAMN BUS HAD QUITE A HARD TIME MAKING IT UP WITH HOW STEEP AND SHARP THE TURNS ARE, AND YET THE MBTA JUST HAPPILY CHUCKS DIESELS AROUND HERE! WELL GEE, MAYBE THEY SHOULD’VE JUST OPTED TO INSTEAD TROLLEYBUS-IFY THIS BUS ROUTE INSTEAD! I KNOW HISTORICALLY I’VE BEEN STAUNCHLY ANTI-TROLLEYBUS, BUT AT THE LEAST THEY EXCEL IN VERY HILLY ENVIRONMENTS LIKE HERE, ALL WITHOUT SPEWING OUT UNHOLY AMOUNTS OF NOXIOUS GASES! IT’S LIKE FOR EVERY STEP FORWARD WE TAKE 25 STEPS BACKWARDS AND FALL OFF A CLIFF!
The good: It’s a supplement to the Blue Line! With that, it also serves the intermediate stops that the subway otherwise wouldn’t. Headways are also alright, being about every 20-30 minutes, except on Sundays (every 50 minutes)
The bad: I hope to GOD you don’t have to pay again if you get on in the loop section and need to go past Maverick or Orient Heights! It’s probably more MBTA procedures than the fault of the route itself, but still it’s annoying. THE DAMN ROADS ARE ALSO A BIT STEEP AND MIGHT BE AN ISSUE FOR DIESELS! JUST GET THE TROLLEYBUSES, NIMBYISM BE FUCKED!
Nearby points of interest: There’s a few parks and whatnot in Jeffries Point, along with Maverick Square and Orient Heights. The Madonna Cross is also a nice place to get shots of the city!
Overall, GIVE THIS DAMN ROUTE A TROLLEYBUS OR TWO, MBTA!
Alrighty, a new bus entry! So, as of the time of writing this, several bus routes in and around the Chelsea area (namely the 111, 112, 114, 116, and 117) were made fare-free to compensate for the Sumner Tunnel closure. For those who don’t know their Boston geography, you have four major roads going into East Boston and Chelsea from downtown: US-1 carried by the Tobin Bridge, the Mass Pike carried by the Ted Williams Tunnel (& the Big Dig), and US-1A which is carried by the Callahan Tunnel eastbound and the Sumner Tunnel westbound. With that in mind, here’s the 114: East Boston’s Market Basket bus.
So, upon leaving Market Basket, we took a couple of turns and started heading down Everett Avenue and Arlington Street, a move done only by Maverick-bound buses. Market Basket-bound buses do a loop near City Hall, however both go down Broadway through Bellingham Square. Weirdly enough, it announced the Commuter Rail atBellingham Square’s Silver Line station. Not sure what’s up with that. Soon enough, we’d cross the Chelsea River with the Tobin Bridge in sight off in the distance, paralleling the 116 and 117 in East Boston. Not much was of interest, though we did pass (yet another?!) Central Square. Soon enough, we’d pull into Maverick Square, for the Blue Line connection.
The good: Well, it serves Chelsea’s town center and government buildings – in one direction. It’s also kinda useful as a one seater from Maverick Square straight to Market Basket.
The bad: I said “kinda” because there’s one fatal flaw: THERE ARE ONLY NINE ROUND TRIPS – AND THEY’RE ON WEEKDAYS ONLY!!!!! YA KNOW, FOR A ROUTE THAT SERVES A SUPERMARKET DIRECTLY, THAT’S KINDA BAD! WHY EVEN HAVE IT?! AT THAT POINT JUST EXTEND THE 112 TO MAVERICK! I’D MAYBE FORGIVE IT IF IT RAN TO HAYMARKET OR GOVVY, BUT EVEN THEN THAT’D ONLY BRING ITFURTHER INTO QUESTION! WHY, HOW, JUST WHY?!
Nearby points of interest: You got Maverick and Bellingham Squares! Furthermore, more for your dollar at Market Basket! But, c’mon, just take the 116/117 to Bellingham Square, and the 112 to Market Basket. Both are more frequent.
Overall, WHY DOES THIS BUS ROUTE EVEN EXIST?! WHY, JUST WHY, JUST EXTEND THE 112!!!!!!!!!!
Ah, the East Boston Ferry. I was planning to ride this in May, but uhhhh, I kinda missed it due to negligence on my part. Oh well! With the closure of the Sumner Tunnel, I figured it’s as good a time to ride it. So, let’s get into it.
So, the route is pretty short, going from Lewis Wharf in East Boston, to Long Wharf in downtown. The boat itself was fairly comfortable for what, I presume, is commuter-grade equipment. I’ve also heard you can stand outside, but since it was raining when I did this (or, rather, it just stopped), they didn’t allow anyone to board outside. Nevertheless, after taking some time to reverse, we were on our way and, soon enough, made it to downtown in about 10 minutes, and I was on my merry way to South Station to meet up with June.
The good: For a ferry, it’s pretty decent enough. I’m not sure if there’s restroom facilities, but for the short distance this route covers it’s not needed. Furthermore, it’s pretty useful as a supplement to the Blue Line between Aquarium and Maverick. Or, it would be….
The bad: …if the ferry was nearly as frequent. It takes 10 minutes to clear the distance, a decent amount of which is spent reversing the ferry. Consequentially, it’s also only half-hourly, as opposed to every 6-10 minutes on the Blue Line. But, I’ll give the ferry some forgiveness as it hasn’t had any incidents unlike the other modes on the T.
Nearby points of interest: Downtown and East Boston, duh!
Overall, while the ride itself is nice, the East Boston Ferry is kinda limited in usefulness and use cases are kinda niche, given the Blue Line serves the same spots AND is faster, AND it’s more frequent! But, I still think water-centric transit can be utilized if under the right circumstances. And, for a short-distance water taxi, the East Boston Ferry is alright enough.
Lewis Wharf, oh boy! Well, there’s not a lot to say about it so this one’s short and sweet. Lewis Wharf is a short walk from Maverick Square and the shopping that surrounds it. It is also pretty barebones, with just a few benches and not a shelter to be seen. Signage? Only tells you to buy the tickets on mTicket. The views of the city are nice!
The good: It’s pretty close to Maverick Square and East Boston! Yeah, I don’t have a lot to say.
The bad: It’s kinda barebones!
Nearby points of interest: Maverick Square, duh! You also have Jeffries Point.
Transit connections: MBTA ferry (East Boston), Blue Line & various buses (@ Maverick)
Overall, meh, it’s barebones and there’s not a lot to say about it.