Argh, I’m getting deja vu! The truck minibus…the double-deviation…this is literally the same thing as the Wareham Middleborough/Lakeville MBTA Connector. The only difference is that the Link 4 only goes about halfway.
We left Cranberry Plaza on Cranberry Highway, which briefly split into two one-way sections before coming together again. It was industrial for the most part, with only the occasional residential neighborhood or cranberry bog popping up. And then, out of nowhere, we made a slight deviation from the MBTA Connector in the form of…a deviation. To the YMCA. Uh-huh, cool, good to see that my ride had exactly 0 people using the GATRA to get to the gym. What kind of stupid deviation is this??
We returned to Cranberry Highway and went over the Wareham River. After passing the sketchy-looking but apparently very good Mill Pond Diner, it went back to being mostly industrial. However, some businesses eventually showed up, and once we went over I-195, it was time for that double-deviation to the Wareham Crossing shopping center, then Walmart. Well…according to the schedule, at least. We just skipped right by!
Instead, we just continued down Cranberry Highway, going by more industry, houses, bogs, houses, woods, and industry, in that order. Once we got to County Road, which had a few businesses and Wareham District Court, we just pulled into a 7-Eleven gas station and turned around. That was it. Also, on the way back, we did do that double-deviation.
GATRA Route: Link 4 (Cranberry Plaza to West Wareham)
Ridership: The ridership for this route initially seems low: it gets 53 passengers per weekday and 29 per Saturday. However, because of the number of trips this route has, it ends up averaging out to about ten people per round trip. That’s not terrible for GATRA standards.
Pros: I find it interesting that this route gets a good amount of ridership, since from what I can see, it doesn’t really serve all that much. However, I guess a good amount of people does use this, so that’s a good thing! The route’s core schedule is sensible for the amount of riders it gets, with trips every hour on weekdays and every two hours on Saturdays.
Cons: First of all, that YMCA deviation felt really pointless. Maybe people on other trips take the bus there, but it seems a little fishy to me. Secondly, I don’t know why my trip skipped the double-deviation going outbound, but I really like that. Technically the route isn’t supposed to do it, but I like it a lot more. And actually, I have a sneaking suspicion as to why we skipped that deviation: this route seems to get late really easily. It gets absolutely no layover time at the terminus, and if it’s actually expected to perform all the deviations, it’s near-impossible to be on time. Also, it’s really annoying that the schedule for the 4 includes some (not even all) of the MBTA Connector trips – all it does is make everything more confusing. Keep them as separate routes.
Nearby and Noteworthy: Geez, I guess Wareham Crossing has some generic mall retail? There really isn’t much along the 4.
Final Verdict: 4/10
The 4 gets a 4! This is a route that’s clearly useful to a decent amount of people, but it has so many easily-fixable problems that drag it down. For example, does the YMCA really need to be served? Granted, I don’t have ridership data, so maybe scores of people use this route to get there, but I find that hard to believe. Secondly, the route is a recipe for lateness, and eliminating the double-deviation in one direction would help rectify that. It’s not that big of an inconvenience for passengers, although I personally don’t see much point in running the route beyond the Walmart anyway – there’s not much there. Finally, the schedule can be simplified by eliminating the MBTA Connector trips and moving them back to the timetable where they belong.
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