I’ve made it clear that I really hate those neighborhoods with all those fast food restaurants and auto shops that all have really big parking lots out front. They usually come up for somewhat short periods in comparison with the rest of the route. But not the 95, though. From Medford Square all the way down to Sullivan this is purely that kind of neighborhood. So fasten your seatbelts (or not, our buses don’t have the amenities that Montpelier’s have) and let’s take a ride on the 95.
It starts out at the intersection of Playstead Road and Winthrop Street, right where the 326 dropped me off. So we headed back down Playstead Road, going through the only nice residential area seen on the entire route. We went past West Medford Station and the businesses surrounding it, and after some more houses came into Medford Square.
This was all very nice, with cute small businesses without – and I can’t stress this enough – overly large parking lots. But then we turned onto Main Street (Stop! You don’t know what you’re doing!), went over the Mystic River (Listen to me! Turn around!) and under Mystic Valley Parkway (Don’t do it!), and merged onto Mystic Ave (Too late!).
Do we really need so many auto shops? The “businesses” along Mystic Ave were, like, 50 percent auto shops. And the rest was just parking lots and fast food restaurants and parking lots and storage warehouses and parking lots and PARKING LOTS. This is the epitome of pit, people. And as I look on the map, there’s a nice residential area less than a block away!
But I digress. There was a pseudo-reprieve with some projects, but then it went back to…you know what, this time with an elevated highway on one side. Lovely. We made a stop somewhat close to Assembly Square and then the road went up to parallel the highway. We went without stops until Sullivan, though the outbound route takes a different street and makes stops. I assume that when the Orange Line station opens the 95 will be rerouted to serve it, but that may be pointless since it goes to Sullivan anyway. And speaking of Sullivan, the road we were on merged onto Maffa Way, where we then turned into the busway.
|Back in West Medford, the bus manages to take a huge u-turn.|
UPDATE 10/6/19: I’ve now ridden the Arlington Center portion of the route! I did it on a Sunday afternoon when it runs there every two hours, just to see what the ridership was like. The ride itself wasn’t anything special – it ran along the route of the 80 up until Boston Ave, where it was only a block more until we joined up the 95’s Playstead Road branch. In terms of ridership, it only got one person, who travelled from Arlington Center to Medford Square.
Route: 95 (West Medford or Arlington Center – Sullivan Square Station via Mystic Ave)
Ridership: It was surprisingly decent; about 20 people rode the bus. They all seemed to feed on at various stops, and I don’t think a single person got off before Sullivan.
Pros: I ranted about the road it travels along for this entire review, but this bus does serve a lot. There are residential areas tucked behind the awful auto shops, and this is the only non-rush hour bus to serve Playstead Road. The schedule’s decent enough: it’s every 20 minutes rush hours and every half hour weekdays and Saturdays. It has a good service span, too, with the first bus leaving Sullivan at 4:55 and the last at 1:05.
Cons: It’s every hour during the night and every 65 minutes on Sundays. That Sunday schedule in particular is pretty bad.
Nearby and Noteworthy: Ha! Yeah, right.
Final Verdict: 7/10
I really hated that neighborhood. I hated it with a passion. But there’s no denying that the bus itself is pretty good, and those residential areas behind the auto shops need to get served. The Sunday schedule drags the score down a bit, but overall this bus isn’t bad at all.
UPDATE 9/1/19: The 95 now has two branches, one to Medford Square and one to Arlington Center. They didn’t execute it well, with infrequent service to both branches, but I guess we’ll see how it affects ridership. Hopefully I can ride the Arlington Center branch at some point and update this post!
UPDATE 10/6/19: Yeah, not sold on the branch thing, still. Just one person on the Arlington Center branch makes sense when it’s every two hours on Sundays! Maybe it’s better at other times, but I don’t have high hopes. Either have everything go to Arlington Center (which I think is preferable) or go back to having everything go to Playstead Road.
Latest MBTA News: Service Updates
The MBTA is ordering new buses! They’re all due to arrive by February 2015. Also, the MBTA is getting a new station on September 2nd when Assembly Square finally opens to the public.