The NB 8 is the same bus as the North End Shuttle, with every run on this route turning into a loop on that one before coming back. I really wish they made it more obvious that they use the same bus, but marketing them as two different routes does have one advantage: it makes the 8 look a whole lot better on its own.
I just stayed on the North End Shuttle, so after deviating to Fieldstone Marketplace (which has nothing of substance in it), we took Kings Highway over Route 140 and turned onto Mount Pleasant Street. Although there were a few houses and a cemetery along here, it was mostly industrial. We crossed Route 140 again and there was some public housing on the other side, although we missed out on a Price Rite supermarket and a bunch of apartments a few blocks away.
Mount Pleasant Street still did run through some dense housing. We also went by another cemetery and an elementary school. It was all residential as we crossed I-195, and it remained so on the other side, apart from a few convenience stores here and there. Eventually, we turned onto Kempton Street, and this led us into downtown New Bedford. After taking a right on 6th Street, we had arrived at the terminal.
SRTA Route: NB 8 (Mount Pleasant)
Ridership: This one gets a respectable-for-SRTA-standards 340 passengers per day. My trip got 9 people, which was one of the highest I had seen all day.
Pros: It’s a nice straight shot serving a lot of dense houses and apartments on its southern half, plus it gets decent ridership.
Cons: Despite getting a decent amount of passengers, the 8 has a pretty awful schedule. Service only operates from 7 AM to 6 PM (8 to 5 on Saturdays), and it’s every 40 minutes throughout the day. The NB 3 gets fewer people than this, but that one runs every half hour until 9 PM! Also, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but a jog or deviation to Price Rite might be a good idea. It’s an 8-minute walk from the route at present – serving a supermarket would probably add a lot of ridership, especially with the route’s midday-focused schedule. It would also provide access to a giant apartment development.
Nearby and Noteworthy: It’s mostly residential, apart from the plazas at the end, which don’t have much in them.
Final Verdict: 4/10
It doesn’t seem like the 8 is especially useful at the moment. Its schedule doesn’t match its ridership, and it doesn’t really serve much once it leaves the urban core. As it stands, for passengers to get food, they have to stay on when the bus becomes the North End Shuttle and use the Stop & Shop deviation, but that’s only in one direction. Of course, SRTA also doesn’t tell you the two routes interline, so that connection might as well not exist for an unfamiliar riders!
Latest MBTA News: Service Updates