As I stood doing nothing in a little room at the Cobbs Corner Mall meant for dropping off bottles and cans, I got quite a few strange looks from passerby outside. Look, I didn’t realize the bus would be this late, okay? About 15 minutes after it was scheduled to arrive, the 14 finally showed up, and as the driver left for another 5 minutes, I stepped into the warmth of the bus.
|The bus at the mall.|
The inside of the bus was strikingly similar to most other non-MBTA systems around Boston. To be honest, by this point, all of these vehicles’ interiors look the same to me. This particular bus was interesting in that it did have an automatic announcement system, but only once we got to the Westgate Mall, way later along the route.
|Looking toward the back…|
|…and the front.|
Once the driver returned, we swerved around through the parking lot until finally exiting onto Washington Street heading south. We then turned onto Sharon Street, which quickly became Central Street once we exited Canton into Stoughton. The neighborhood was mostly residential in the form of both regular houses and a few developments. We also passed the occasional business along the way.
|The Stoughton Water Works!|
Eventually we reached an industrial section, with a few office parks along the street. However, we also went by a school, a fire station, and the Stoughton Water Works, which was an interesting thing to see. We crossed over a single Commuter Rail track, and then it was residential once more for a bit.
|The one track.|
As we turned onto Washington Street, the surroundings all of a sudden became fast food restaurants, auto shops, and the like with big parking lots out front – my favorite kind of neighborhood! That said, this is where we finally started getting some riders, so clearly some people like the area more than me. The parking lots did become smaller once we merged onto Park Street and headed through Stoughton Square, coming a block away from Stoughton’s Commuter Rail station (another one which I have yet to visit).
|The main bus stop in Stoughton Square.|
Leaving the center, the street became residential with increasingly dense houses (and a few businesses scattered around, too). After Park Street made a slight curve to the right, there was a short section of forest, and the houses felt further apart once they came back. We passed through another round of office parks, and then the businesses with big parking lots came back…again.
|A water tower looms behind the basketball court.|
The road became North Pearl Street, and it did get residential again for a bit. We went by a cemetery, then turned onto Pleasant Street, which crossed over Route 24. Eventually we reached the wide Reynolds Memorial Highway and then turned onto Westgate Drive. The parking lots were back, culminating in a gigantic one for the Westgate Mall. Most 14 trips actually terminate here, but ours was one of the four per day that continue to downtown Brockton, so we headed back down the way we came after stopping at the mall.
|Woo, parking lots, yay…|
Heading back down to Reynolds Memorial Highway, we rejoined Pleasant Street, now heading eastward towards downtown. The street was a mixture of houses and businesses, and though there was definitely more of the former, the latter was well-represented. The houses got denser as we got closer to the city, and soon everything was replaced by retail. We eventually went under the Commuter Rail tracks and then pulled into the BAT Center, the hub of the system.
|The bus, now out of service at the BAT Center.|
BAT Route: Stoughton Route 14 (Stoughton via Brockton)
Ridership: The ridership on my ride was local, with everyone seeming to know each other. Overall, it got about 15 riders in total, which seems alright for a Saturday. In 2014, the route got 208 riders per weekday and 160 per Saturday, and it’s one of the lower-ridership routes for the BAT.
Pros: This is Stoughton’s only bus route, and not only does it serve a decent portion of that town, but it also provides a link to Cobbs Corner. Unfortunately…that’s about all the good things I have to say about the 14.
Cons: Yeah, okay, so first of all, the schedule is pretty bad. I’m not saying the route gets a ton of ridership, but every 80 minutes seems a bit ridiculous. Still, I guess the route averages a relatively small amount of people per trip, so the infrequency makes sense. But I’ll bet it would average more people per trip if all of them were extended to the BAT Center! Why terminate at Westgate? That just makes the route so isolated.
Nearby and Noteworthy: There weren’t any attractions that caught my fancy along this route. Stoughton Center didn’t seem like a very interesting place, although if you’re into malls, the 14 has plenty of those.
Final Verdict: 5/10
To be clear, this score is not based on the frequency of the route. The frequency, based on the current ridership, makes sense. Rather, the low score is because of the simple fact that only four trips per day serve the BAT Center. I’m sure this route would get much more ridership if it always went downtown since it wouldn’t just be an isolated stub from Westgate to Stoughton. It might be harder to schedule, but it would be worth it, and I think this route is basically unfinished until that happens.
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