Let’s talk about North Station for a second. This modern hub has a cross-platform transfer between the inbound Green and Orange Lines, and a very straightforward transfer between outbound lines. Yes, this is probably the easiest and most convenient transfer station on the MBTA. Now what about Haymarket? What about Haymarket with its numerous staircases, misleading signage, and overall ugly aesthetics? Simply put, Haymarket is the lesser of the two Green-to-Orange transfers.
|The main entrance of Haymarket, along with the busway.|
The main entrance is certainly striking. Housed in a massive non-MBTA parking garage, the busway features a massive glass slab cutting through concrete at an angle. I’m not really sure if I like it or not, but it’s definitely interesting. The fact that Haymarket has a proper busway gives it an edge, being right in Boston. However, there are actually two busways here, and the other one is much less exciting. It hasn’t even got benches, so passengers are forced to just lean against the wall.
|What’s more, it’s right on the street!|
There are quite a few bus connections here, but as many of them are weekdays only, the station’s quiet on weekends. The three weekend buses are the 92, 93, and 111, the last of which is a Key Bus Route and gets very heavy ridership. The other (weekday-only) buses here are the 4, the 325 and 326, and a whole bunch of 400-series routes that go up north. Oh, and I suppose there’s also the 608. Blech. But the fact that the new hybrid buses run from here makes the station worth a look.
The main entrance just has steps going down from the busway. The mezzanine they lead into is pretty nice and modern, with a fair amount of fare gates and machines. It’s very clean and well-lit as well. The only problem with it is that the ceiling’s kinda meh, but at least it doesn’t have random pipes like other parts of the station. Spoiler alert.
I didn’t visit the other entrance on my recent trip, but I have a picture from when I took the 326. The mezzanine seems well-lit, and it seems to have a good amount of fare gates. Honestly, though, I don’t remember anything from that trip. I’m basing everything on the picture.
|Looks pretty nice…|
The Orange Line platforms are pretty disgusting. Although they’re right next to each other this time (unlike State), the divider between the two sides is really grimy and dirty. The walls are made of these old red bricks and there are a whole bunch of massive metal pillars along the platform. The latter may look good in a more modern station, but they just look bad and out of place here. And this station also has a case of the random pipes, as there are quite a few of them running down the length of the ceiling.
|There’s also that random traffic cone in the middle…|
|That destination board is…interesting.|
I then wanted to see the Green Line platforms, so I followed the signs to them. One of them pointed up some stairs – once up there, another sign said to continue down the platform. This ended up being a dead end, so I went back up the stairs and this lead to the Green Line. It’s always annoying when signage contradicts itself.
|This mezzanine is kind of nice, though.|
Unfortunately, the Green Line platforms were just as bad as the Orange Line ones. It’s technically just one island platform, but they’re split most of the way down by a wall. I wish that wasn’t the case, since it makes the platform feel smaller than if they were to just get rid of the wall. And alas, the walls are again very grimy and the ceiling again has random pipes all over it. At least it’s clean, I suppose.
|Looking down both platforms, with the wall in the way.|
|A train at the station.|
Ridership: North Station is definitely the more-used station for Green Line to Orange Line transfers. Haymarket is a much bigger bus hub, though, and a whole bunch of people use the 111 alone. Also, this is the closest station to the North End, so that spurs a whole other source of ridership. The station as a whole gets about 11,500 riders per day, making it the 15th busiest station on the system.
Pros: On weekdays, this is a pretty good bus hub, with a whole bunch of express routes to the North Shore. And the non-platform parts of the station are actually pretty nice.
Cons: But the platform-platform parts of the station are disgusting. Also, the fact that there are two busways, both of which serve different routes, can be confusing. Not to mention the one on Congress Street can hardly be considered a “busway” when it has no shelters or even benches. The signage within the station seems to be really misleading, and according to Wikipedia, the Green and Orange Line platforms are on the same level – shouldn’t going between them be so much easier, then?
Nearby and Noteworthy: The North End is simply exploding with history, and has a whole bunch of awesome restaurants. I know none of these, but this website seems pretty informative.
Final Verdict: 5/10
This station is pretty confusing, with both the misleading signage and the two busways (the second of which is pretty much just a stop). Also, both platforms are really dingy, and the transfer between them seems like it could be so much simpler. However, I will say that the non-platform parts of the station are nice, and there are a lot of bus connections (on weekdays, anyway). This is also the closest station to the North End, so that’s something.