We are finally done with this system! I have been continuously reviewing SRTA routes since…geez, since August???? Okay, I did not realize it’s been that long. Basically, ever since I transitioned to Miles in Transit, every “MBTA” bus review has just been the darn SRTA! Well, let me stop talking and let’s get this final route, the NB 5, over with.
We pulled out of Stop & Shop, making our way onto Rockdale Ave, then turning onto Bolton Street. After passing a sketchy-looking shopping plaza, one side of the road was dense houses, while the other side was just a big
abandoned field of sorrow and despair. There were a few businesses when we reached an actual park and turned onto Rivet Street.
It was all houses for a bit before we crossed the NB 1 at County Street. From there, we made a left onto 2nd Street and a right onto Potomska Street, which curved left to become MacArthur Drive. There was nothing much to see here other than a bunch of ocean-based industry (i.e. boats and fish) and a Price Rite supermarket that felt pretty out of place.
We went by more industry and parking lots, including a big power plant, then we turned onto Walnut Street then 2nd Street, heading into downtown New Bedford. Wait…why are we turning left? No, no, no, we’re so close, don’t do this deviation to me! Sigh…we had to do a loopy-loop to serve some apartments that are already served directly by the 1. Great. Can we go downtown now? The 5 travels via Union Street for some reason, which no other SRTA bus does, although Union Street runs through the really nice part of downtown with cobblestoned streets. That was pleasant, I guess. But I was so happy when we turned onto Pleasant Street and travelled up to the terminal.
SRTA Route: 5 (Rivet Street)
Ridership: Bear in mind that the New Bedford routes tend to get overall higher ridership than Fall River routes (barring the North End Shuttle, as usual). Well, besides the North End Shuttle, the 5 is the least-used bus route on the entire SRTA. Yes, just about 129 riders per day were using this thing in 2014. The route also has the fewest passengers per revenue hour, 11.18, on the system, aside from the North End Shuttle (of course).
Pros: Honestly, the best thing I can say about the 5 is that it serves that Price Rite in the industrial area. That’s kinda the one unique thing it does.
Cons: The 5 is very much in the shadow of other routes. Aside from the industrial part (which I’m sure attracts very little ridership throughout the day barring the Price Rite), the 5 is never further than a 5-minute walk away from another bus route. I guess it kinda has a crosstown thing going on with its Rivet Street section, but the route’s alignment isn’t really filling any huge gaps in the system. Also, with service every 45 minutes on weekdays and every 60-65 minutes (inconsistent headways) on Saturdays, it’s even less useful as a crosstown. Oh, and there’s that stupid deviation that’s entirely redundant to the 1! Look, the 1 is every 20 minutes, this is every 45. I mean, come on. Yes, the 5 serves Price Rite, but if infrastructure was installed to let pedestrians cross the JFK Memorial Highway, walking from the 1 wouldn’t be a problem.
Nearby and Noteworthy: Hey, it does serve that nice part of New Bedford! But also, you can just walk there from the terminal in a few minutes, so once again, this route isn’t really doing anything new.
Final Verdict: 3/10
It may not be the most infuriating route on the SRTA, but it is one of the most useless. There are clearly some people using it, but I’d be curious to see how many of them could almost just as easily use a different route. I’ll bet it’s a lot. For the record, the SRTA was an overall decent system; we’ve just ended on a few bad routes, I guess. Sorry, SRTA.
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