Well, I’ve had a long hiatus, but I’ll make it up to you guys with a weekday-only express bus that was ALSO on the chopping block back in 2012! Yes, we’re taking a trip up I-93 today on the 325. And as usual for I-93 express buses, there was lots and lots of traffic.
|I’m gonna miss the RTS’s, but from up close, they make for really bad pictures.|
Leaving Haymarket, we headed up Congress Street, but didn’t make any stops before ducking into the I-93 tunnel. Right after we came back into the open air, zooming over the Zakim Bridge on the on-ramp road. Things looked ominous on the highway itself, though, and when we merged on, it got much slower.
|The view of Charlestown and the Bunker Hill Monument.|
The highway was stacked here, and we went past Bunker Hill Community College. It got industrial north of there, then the highway unstacked and we passed Sullivan Square. After that we went by Assembly Square, then a barrier came up on the right and I couldn’t see anything.
|I did take that obligatory “skyline view with a bunch of traffic” picture, but I’ve already used that twice, so here’s one of Sullivan.|
We then got a nice view of the Mystic River, and it got pretty woodsey from there. Crossing over the Mystic River, we took Exit 32 and merged onto Salem Street. There was a mixture of houses and businesses, and they were all pretty dense.
|The view of the Mystic River.|
The businesses continued until we reached an MBTA bus yard, which seemed to have an old waiting room outside. Here the driver honked his horn at another driver who was walking by, then we continued past a mall. After that, we made a sharp left turn onto the Fellsway West.
|The old waiting room.|
It’s interesting how much different the Fellsway was from Salem Street. Whereas Salem Street was somewhat narrow with a sort of gritty feel to it, the Fellsway was extremely wide with a tree-lined median. It had houses on either side, and was really leafy in general. Funnily enough, this portion of the route was faster than the entire express portion, since there was barely any traffic and no one wanted to get off.
|I refer you to the first caption.|
After passing a park, the road curved up north, It went along next to I-93, with hilly residential streets on the other side. We made some windy turns, then unexpectedly did a u-turn and arrived at Elm Street. Well, that was sudden…
Route: 325 (Elm Street, Medford – Haymarket Station via Fellsway West, Salem Street, and I-93)
Ridership: There were only about 15 people on my ride, although it was 4 o’clock, that quiet time just before rush hour. The crowd on the bus was very local, but I assume it gets more suits and ties during peak periods. Most people got off at Salem Street, with very few people continuing on past the turn onto Fellsway West. All in all, this is one of the lowest-ridership routes on the MBTA, with only a little over 300 riders per day. It’s at rank 149, if you were wondering.
Pros: Well, I guess an express to eastern Medford is needed by some people. I feel like the 326 is slightly more useful since it goes through Medford Square, but its ridership is barely higher than the 325. I do like how the 325 runs both ways, even though it skips the Fellsway West and Salem Street portions going in the non-peak direction. But the bus has to return to Boston so it might as well pick up a few riders along the way. That said, I saw a 325 going back, and it was completely empty. But still, it’s nice that you can take it back if you want to.
Cons: Okay, I’ll give the schedule a break, since I doubt this bus would get much ridership if it ran at any time other than weekdays, rush hour only. That said, it doesn’t get much ridership anyway! And it’s worth noting that this route is one of the most expensive for the MBTA to run, costing over $7 per passenger! The 326 is less than $4.
Nearby and Noteworthy: There were businesses on Salem Street, but none of them seemed especially interesting.
Final Verdict: 3/10
Well, it was a nice ride, that’s for sure. But okay, comparing this to the 326, since the two routes are pretty much related, I think the latter is more useful. That’s not to say the 325 isn’t, since some people use it, but just look at how much it costs the MBTA to run! I think there would be local opposition to getting rid of this route, though, so I guess the 325 just has to stick around. What a trooper.
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