Well, as long as I reviewed the 16, I might as well cover the other route I took that day, the 35. I’m not sure why I didn’t review these two buses earlier, but…well, what’s almost months late, am I right? Pshhhh. Okay, well, here’s the 35.
|The bus at the roofless Forest Hills busway.|
We headed down Washington Street after picking people up at Forest Hills, along with the eight other buses that traverse the same route. After a few businesses, there was a short industrial section, and then the street was mostly lined with apartments. Aside from the occasional corner store, we didn’t see much retail until Roslindale Square, where all of a sudden it was everywhere.
Merging onto South Street, we then curved into Belgrade Ave, passing the Roslindale Village Commuter Rail station. Running with the 36 and 37, the street was lined with apartments and houses, with a few businesses at an intersection with Walworth Street. There were some more businesses near Bellevue Station, but they were significantly less interesting than the previous retail block.
Luckily, once Belgrade Ave curved north and crossed the Commuter Rail tracks, there were some more noteworthy businesses. Here, we turned onto Centre Street, which continued to be lined with retail. This went on for a while, basically until the intersection with LaGrange Street, where the 37 left us. Soon after, we passed a church, and then the 36 turned off onto Spring Street, leaving us alone.
Centre Street was now entirely residential, but it felt really nice and suburban, with small houses lining the street. We did go by a nursing home at one point, and there was an industrial section later on where Centre Street turned right, avoiding a huge quarry. The houses continued past there, including when we turned onto the even smaller and more local Stimson Street.
But these lovely houses would end soon enough, as we reached the behemoth known as Washington Street. The wide road had a median in the middle, but after some suburban businesses with big parking lots, it too became residential. That didn’t last for too long, though, as we soon entered the huge Dedham Mall complex, letting the remaining passengers off for some late shopping.
|You can see what I mean by “late” shopping. It was dark by the time we got to the mall!|
Route: 35 (Dedham Mall/Stimson Street – Forest Hills Station via Belgrade Ave and Center Street)
Ridership: In terms of the Belgrade Avenue buses, the 35 is right in the middle. It’s not as busy as the 36, but not as quiet as the 37. To be more specific, it gets 2,422 riders per weekday, 1,142 per Saturday, and a measly 471 per Sunday. It has to be said, though, that the Belgrade Ave corridor is quite busy on weekdays if you add up the ridership for all three of its routes, so I would imagine that this bus is crowded during rush hour. My particular trip had about 15 people on a Saturday, but it was in the late afternoon.
Pros: Since the Belgrade Avenue corridor is one of the busiest on the MBTA (its three routes add up to just shy of the 77’s ridership on weekdays), this route is mainly to serve that. However, it goes above and beyond its jurisdiction by also serving a bunch of houses along Centre Street, plus the huge Dedham Mall.
Cons: Unfortunately, its schedule is a bit flimsy. Rush hour service is fantastic, with every 11-15 minute service, and Saturdays are okay, with every 35 minute headways. However, on weekdays, it’s every 40 minutes, and every hour nights and Sundays (with only 10 trips each direction during the latter). Also, all trips before around 9 AM are truncated before the mall, but there should be at least one rush hour run to get mall workers to their jobs.
Nearby and Noteworthy: You guys all know my opinions on malls, so I’m just gonna keep the terminus of this route out of the equation. However, it still goes by a lot of businesses, particularly along the Centre Street section shared with the 36 and 37, as well as good ol’ Roslindale.
Final Verdict: 6/10
This may not be the fastest route to the Dedham Mall (the 34E claims that title), but people still use it to get to there. Thus, I wish the Sunday schedule was less limited, and that there was at least one rush hour trip that helped mall workers out. Other than that, this is a fine route that serves a decent amount and gets good ridership, especially during rush hour. I just wish it could run more often outside of those times.
Latest MBTA News: Service Updates
The reason for the huge median on Washington Street is because that used to be the right of way for the trolley that went from Forest Hills all the way to Walpole (so basically, the route of the current 34E). Actually, pretty much every street in Boston with a large median is the same – Columbia Road, Blue Hill Avenue and, most recently, Brighton Avenue from Commonwealth Ave. to just past Harvard Ave. If you take the 36 to the VA hospital at VFW Parkway, cross the street to the Spring Street Cafe and you'll see some evidence remaining of that trolley line – an old pole for the overhead wires, some exposed track in the parking lot (which is where that trolley line used to turn around) and a small, raised concrete pad, which used to be the boarding area for the trolleys on the way back into town.
That crossed my mind! Wow, that must've been a fun ride…
This one could use some improving in terms of frequency, 10 min at rush hour is good but this one gets FREQUENTLY packed beyond capacity even with a bus every 10 min. Service every Maybe 7 min during rush hour or something would help, or maybe even bendy busses or something. Or maybe they could have a rush hour 35E that either runs limited stop or completly non stop until its independant section, sort of like the rush hour 34E express’s that dont stop until Lagrange st. it wouldnt do a huge amount since alot of people seem to go from forest hills to the stops along belvedue (which it shares with the other belvedue routes anyways) but the people going to the mall or its independent portion would have a quicker ride