The first thing you notice when going to North Quincy is just how long it takes to get there. From here to JFK/UMASS is seven minutes by train, and it’s the longest distance between stations on the system at a little over 3 and a half miles. The station has a very isolated, park-and-ride feel to it in general, and you have to walk a bit to get to civilization. There is a nice view just before the platform, though, where the train crosses over the Neponset River.
|As usual, the view is not captured well.|
The platform itself is really…meh. The architecture just feels bland. I do like the glass waiting rooms, though. On one side of the platform there are some trees blocking the parking lot, while on the other side, beyond the Commuter Rail tracks, there’s a big parking garage that didn’t seem to be open (more on that in a sec).
|Like I said, meh. The MBTA didn’t even bother to change the maps here to the new one.|
In between the station and a large expanse of marshland is a pretty big office park. To be perfectly honest, it looks like it has more parking than anyone would ever need, yet there’s still the aforementioned garage next to the platform. In fact, a sorry-looking exit to the garage exists on the western side of the station. It’s closed on weekends, though, as a guy I saw found out the hard way.
|It’s such a weird exit!|
Since it was a Sunday, I of course had to use the main exit, which was actually kinda nice. I liked how open and modern it felt. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to try out the elevator, but there is one. There’s only one escalator, though, and that’s going up. It’s kind of annoying, but I can live with it.
|I don’t know why there’s a random traffic cone, though.|
There’s not really much mezzanine to speak of here. It’s just a narrow hallway with a few fare machines and a few fare gates. It feels kind of bleak, even with a sizeable window at one end. There’s also a fan, which is probably nice during the summer, but not so much now.
|Pretty dark in here.|
The busway is pretty boring, too, but also straightforward. The latter is probably because there are only seven buses that serve the station: two only have one trip here (the 215 and 217), two only come on weekends (the 201 and 202), the 210 and 212 don’t have Sunday service, and the 211 is the only one that comes seven days a week. One thing I do love about the busway is the presence of a countdown clock: that way you know if you should rush for your train or if it’s not worth it. This is a “screw you” station, being above ground and all (meaning you can see the train stopped at the platform but know you won’t make it).
|The busway, with some vending machines and bike spaces.|
There seemed to be a constant line of cabs waiting to pick people up here. I only saw one person get into one during my half hour or so in the busway, so I’m not sure how much business the taxis actually get. The parking lot here is pretty huge: over 1200 spaces! I’m assuming people must use this station as a park-and-ride.
|Not too many people here on a Sunday.|
The immediate surroundings of the station are pretty grim and absolutely not pedestrian-friendly. There’s a Walgreens across the street that, based on my experiences, doesn’t stock camera chargers. So, um, don’t go to the North Quincy Walgreens if you desire camera chargers. There are also some gas stations, a high school, and a McDonald’s right near the station.
|The station, with an ugly-looking drive-through in the foreground.|
Other than that, the surroundings of the station are mostly residential. However, there is a little commercial area about a five minute walk away. It doesn’t look like anything that nice, but at least it’s something. I wouldn’t know, though, since I only went to the Walgreens.
|It’s a 17 minute wait if you missed that train…|
Station: North Quincy
Ridership: As I said, this seems like a pretty big station for park-and-riders. Some people might commute here, too, because of the nearby office parks. And students might use it for the nearby high school. As for numbers, this station gets a little over 7,000 people per day, giving it the second-highest ridership on the Braintree branch.
Pros: I like the escalator all right; the presence of a countdown clock in the busway is convenient; the station has a lot of parking and a lot of ridership; and there’s some stuff to do nearby if you walk for a few minutes.
Cons: Okay, this whole station feels really dated and bleak. Pretty much everything about it except for the escalator leading up to the mezzanine looks really boring. And there’s only one escalator, but that’s only an annoyance. The bus connections are pretty grim, and the surrounding area is really not pedestrian friendly. Finally, this station is about a million miles away from JFK/UMASS. Imagine if they stuck a station in between the two, and had Braintree branch trains also stop at Savin Hill.
Nearby and Noteworthy: Probably best to walk to that aforementioned commercial area if you’re looking for something to do from here.
Final Verdict: 5/10
There’s a very dated feel about this entire station. A modern renovation would be really nice, if the MBTA could muster it. And imagine if they were to put a new station in between North Quincy and JFK/UMASS. Such as this possibility… (Yeah, I figured out how to put maps in!)
As you can see (you may have to zoom out a bit), this station is in the middle of a rotary. The 201 and 202 bus routes go right by, and the 210 is a few blocks away. The only problem with building this is that there might not be any room on the line for platforms. So I suppose that makes this a bust, then…
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