Yikes, Crane Ave is the main street on the 16, and it offers pretty much nothing transit-oriented aside from one apartment complex. That’s the breaks when you’re running a system as rural as the BRTA, I guess…
The initial section on North Street was urban, though, since we were right downtown – that benefit was dampered, though, by the fact that there are three other routes that go this way. The 16 is the only one that actually deviates into the Berkshire Medical Center, probably because it gets the least ridership out of any of the buses on this trunk, so the deviation inconveniences the smallest amount of people. It was north of the hospital that we broke free from the other routes, running alone on Route 7 past a bunch of leafy houses and the giant Springside Park.
We turned onto Crane Ave, the route’s main street, but a dense residential neighborhood lasted just a few blocks before devolving into spread-out houses with no side streets. Oh, and two golf courses. Across the street from each other. The small Oak Hill Apartments complex was pretty much the only thing along here that could conceivably justify sending a bus this way. Crane Ave eventually led us to the mall complex in northeastern Pittsfield (served by many other routes), and a deviation into the Allendale Shopping Center ended the trip.
BRTA Route: 16 (Allendale Shopping Plaza/Crane Ave)
Ridership: Among the lowest on the system, getting about 57 riders per weekday and a mere 19 per Saturday. The full trip takes just 15 minutes, though, so that slightly offsets the incredibly low passenger numbers.
Pros: This route is verrrrryyyyyyy political. Serve an entire street just to get one apartment building? Alright, fine! Granted, these routes serve a coverage purpose and very hard to get rid of, and the 16 provides a decent hourly weekday service to the places it goes.
Cons: Five trips every two hours on Saturdays is sad, but what are you going to do when ridership is so low? The 16’s biggest problem, though, is that it just doesn’t really do enough to justify existing on its own. Because the 1 and the 4 run so close together during their Pittsfield sections, it could be possible to have one of them go via Crane Ave (it wouldn’t take much longer – if anything, it might be slightly faster) and eliminate the 16 altogether. Essentially no places would lose service, and the extra bus could be used to increase frequency somewhere else.
Nearby and Noteworthy: If you like golf, have I got the route for you.
Final Verdict: 3/10
For a political route that pretty much has to exist to serve the Oak Hill Apartments, I can’t fault the 16 too much. Yes, I gave it a 3, but it’s not an angry 3; it’s a pity 3. The 16 gets a pity 3. Poor 16.
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