This is the last Silver Line route to be reviewed on this blog! Huzzah! That said, the SL4 follows almost the exact same route as the SL5, and was only created to provide a connection from Dudley to the SL1 and SL2. But actually, it ended up being more useful than it might seem.

A swaggering man exits the bus at Dudley.
From Dudley, we headed up Washington Street through a pretty bad neighborhood, and soon we went into the bus lane. There were some nice parks around Melnea Cass Boulevard, then a mixture of small businesses, lovely brownstones, and tenements. There was a huge cathedral at Dartmouth Street, then the uglier buildings started to dwindle.
These views down articulated buses never get old.
We crossed over I-90, and that’s where the bus lane ended. Of course there was plenty of traffic to contend with, and the bus slowed to a crawl. The buildings got taller and taller as we went through Tufts Medical Area and Chinatown Stations. But whereas the SL5 continues down Washington Street into the theater district, we turned onto the much less crowded Essex Street. Chinatown is only served by South Station-bound buses because of the loop it makes over here.
Bus inception never gets old either.
There was barely any traffic on Essex Street, and near South Station the bus lane came back! And there was a legitimate shelter! It was amazing. There was a crowd waiting to get back on the bus, and then it looped around to head back to Dudley.
The bus outside of South Station.
Route: SL4 (Dudley Station – South Station at Essex Street via Washington St)
Ridership: Sitting in the back of an articulated bus (because come on, who wants to sit in the front), I couldn’t get an accurate ridership number. The best I can say is “a lot.”
Pros: Like the SL5, the section along Washington Street is pretty quick. And the shelters are pretty swanky, offering shelter (obviously) and countdown clocks for the buses. That said, the clocks aren’t particularly useful when buses are late:

Good to know…

But the SL4 has an advantage over its counterpart in that the trip to South Station is so much quicker than the one to Downtown Crossing! If you have to get to the Red Line from along the route, the SL4 is a better decision. Chinatown and Downtown Crossing aren’t too far apart, but the traffic along there can be really bad. The SL4 just has to breeze down Essex Street to get to South Station.

Cons: There’s still the traffic at that one area between I-90 and Chinatown, but it’s not as bad as what the SL5 has to deal with.
Nearby and Noteworthy: See the SL5 post.
Final Verdict: 8/10
Just for comparison, the SL5 got a 5. I really hated the traffic when I rode that route. The traffic can be kinda bad here, so Essex Street turned out to really speed up the journey. This bus certainly isn’t an adequate replacement for the Orange Line by any means, but it’s much better than the other route on Washington Street.
Latest MBTA News: Service Updates
I’m going to Washington D.C. for a few days on a school trip, so don’t expect any posts in the next week or so. I plan to do a Service Change on the bus that takes us there (an 11 hour drive, hooray!), but unfortunately won’t be riding the Metro. See you in a week!