Huh…this is one of the more interesting routes on the MBTA. It’s just weird to me that there’s a bus from Salem to the North Shore and Liberty Tree Malls, then onwards to Danvers! What’s more, it even runs on Saturdays, which was the day my friend Sam and I rode the route. Could such a far-out bus possibly get any ridership? Let’s find out!

The slightly out-of-focus bus at Salem.

Leaving Salem Station, we made our way onto Bridge Street, then looped around onto North Street. We were essentially bypassing downtown Salem, but the houses lining the street were still pretty dense. We then turned onto Essex Street, going by lots of dense, historical houses.

Gotta love Salem!

It started to get industrial by the time we reached the intersection with Boston Street, onto which we turned. We were on an independent section now, and the street was lined with newer houses, as well as a few auto shops and businesses. We passed a huge empty plot of land at one point, and even one of those storage places that I always associate with suburbia.

My, this is desolate…

The street was a mix of dense houses and businesses from there. At one point, we passed an apartment building, and it started to get a lot denser. The street became Main Street around this point, for we were in Peabody – Peabody Square, in fact. Thus, the road became lined with businesses, and we merged with the 435.

A business block in Peabody Square.

We then turned onto Central Street, crossing over a disused railroad track. A bunch of people got on at the main Peabody Square shelter, and the businesses started to thin out as we headed north. Eventually it became mostly houses, although there was still a bit of retail and we also passed a community center. Once we merged onto Andover Street, it was all houses.

A side street.

We crossed over I-95 eventually, and the street grew much wider on the other side. Almost immediately, we pulled into the North Shore Mall to drop off some of our passengers for their shopping. After that, we made our way around the mall onto Essex Center Drive.

Going around the mall.

We went by the Lahey Clinic, then Toys ‘R’ Us and a Shaw’s. There were also a few office parks to provide more scenery. Eventually, we turned onto Prospect Street, passing some housing developments with the mall parking lot still in view. The road became Cross Street, then we turned onto Andover Street again, then Sylvan Street and Endicott Street.

Oh look! Um…buildings!

We deviated into the Liberty Tree Mall and dropped off a few more shoppers, then we entered the route’s (mostly) independent section. From here, the 465 makes a loop around Danvers whose only other route is a few night trips on the 435. Thus, we made our way back to Sylvan Street and headed north, the road lined with houses.

A street corner.

We turned onto Pine Street pretty quickly, which was also residential. Once we turned onto Holten Street, there were a few businesses at the intersection, but scenery still mostly consisted of houses. However, we soon reached a church, as well as Danvers’s town hall and TV station. Here, we merged onto Elm Street, entering Danvers Square.

Danvers Town Hall!

The street was lined with businesses, as was High Street, onto which we turned. It was at this point that we reached our layover, a simple stop next to a parking lot. It was a long layover, however – we stayed at the stop for about 20 minutes. Finally, we started up again and continued down High Street.

The bus at Danvers Square.

We went through a short residential section, but then the street became industrial. After it went under Route 128, though, it became entirely houses. We turned onto Water Street, which had a bit of retail. The street then curved around over the Crane River, and we turned onto Endicott Street on the other side.

The Crane River!

The road soon widened and became lined with parking lots and office parks. We also passed Endicott Plaza, a shopping center. After that, we crossed over Route 128 again, and returned to the Liberty Tree Mall on the other side. From there, it was back to Salem via the same route as before.

Going over the highway.

Route: 465 (Salem Depot – Liberty Tree Mall via Peabody and Danvers)

Ridership: It’s not surprising that the 465 gets pretty low ridership – on weekdays, the route gets an average of 414 riders, while on Saturdays, the route gets only 267 riders. However, when passengers per trip are taken into account, it’s not too bad – about 16 on weekdays and 22 on Saturdays.

Pros: This is basically the MBTA’s only route in Danvers, so the 465 serves a big purpose in that regard. The route also serves as at least somewhat of a relief for the perpetually-packed 435, since they share paths from Peabody Square to Liberty Tree. The 465’s schedule is also pretty sensible – every hour on weekdays and every two hours on Saturday.

Cons: One big problem with the 465 is the layover in Danvers. If someone wants to get to the other side of the loop, an  up-to-20 minute wait in Danvers Square is quite the annoyance. I also wonder what the purpose is of the rush hour routing via Water, Margin, and North Streets (formerly called the 468). I mean, it has stops and everything, but it only gets two trips in each direction.

Nearby and Noteworthy: Salem, Peabody Square, and Danvers Square are all pretty interesting downtowns, though the only one for which you would specifically use the 465 is Danvers.

Final Verdict: 6/10
Eh, this route definitely does its job and serves a good amount. However, the layover at Danvers is inconvenient for people going around the loop – it might be better to just give the bus a long layover in Salem and do the loop nonstop. As for the “468” routing, I guess serving that area might only be justified during rush hour, so I’ll let that issue slide. But this is just a “6” kind of route, you know? I mean, it’s every 2 hours on Saturdays!

Latest MBTA News: Service Updates