CATA has three routes running from Gloucester to Rockport: the Green Line, the Red Line, and the Blue Line. They all vary in terms of scenery, and each offers a completely different ride. Today, of course, we’ll be taking a ride on the Blue Line, which is the easternmost Gloucester-to-Rockport route.

The bus turning to get into the Dunkin’ Donuts stop.

The bus on the Blue Line was my first time on a CATA Gillig, but it felt a lot like a GATRA Gillig. The seats on this bus were nicer, though, with really great patterns on them. There were no automatic announcements of any kind, and the “stop request” sign (activated by pulling a cord) simply lit up. I also want to point out how strange it is that CATA destination signs don’t acknowledge their line colors in any way! They just say the destination, and not “Blue Line” or “Red Line” as well.

The inside, with mostly sideways seats.

We left Dunkin’ Donuts and turned onto Main Street, running down Gloucester’s main drag. We then turned onto Washington Street, going by houses as we ascended a slight hill. Next, we turned onto Prospect Street, and after passing a park, we headed onto Railroad Ave. There were businesses along here, although we picked no one up at the Commuter Rail station.

Looking down Route 128.

We continued down Washington Street after that deviation, passing more houses. We headed around Grant Circle, and soon after went by Addison Gilbert Hospital. A little past there, the Orange Line turned away and we were left alone on Washington Street.

We passed a baseball field, and then came right up alongside a marsh, offering a great view. There were a few businesses here, but mostly the area consisted of houses and some churches. Although the street shied away from the sea, it was still a pretty area, with plentiful trees and charming residences.
How’s about a blurry side street?
It was mostly houses along here, but we did go by a restaurant and a post office at the intersection with Holly Street. Washington Street went onto a peninsula after that, before heading onto a nice bridge over Goose Cove. The surroundings were residential again on the other side, with a few glimpses of Lobster Cove through the houses and trees.
There was a rather lovely forested section, with the water still slightly visible through the trees. As the street curved around a bit, we reentered civilization – this was Annisquam Village. It didn’t feel particularly villagey, though…it was just a church, some houses, and a fire station. Still, it was quite charming!
A small river.
The road passed over a tiny creek, and it was all residential from there. There was a bit of a clearing at one point, though, where we passed a field and also got a view of Plum Cove. Washington Street got absolutely lovely after that, with light drifting turns and some charming houses on the sides. We even went by a few businesses in Lanesville, which was such a cute little village.
Looking down a side street in Lanesville.
The street curved up and around to become Langsford Street. It continued to be residential along here, aside from a cemetery. At that point, we merged back into Washington Street, which rose up on a hill alongside some quick glimpses of a beautiful cove. Around here, the street became Granite Street, and we entered Rockport.
Granite Street curved south and inland, with more houses on either side. At one point, though, we passed a strange industrial building that came out of nowhere. After that, we went by some attractions such as a post office, a fire station, and some really nice churches. From there, the houses became a lot bigger and more expensive-looking, as we were right by the sea.
A bit of a view past some houses.
Other points of interest along here were a pier, and some sort of development with identical houses along the ocean. Unfortunately, Granite Street eventually curved inland, and it was now residential on both sides (lovely houses, though). The road became Railroad Ave, and the reason for its name was evident as we went by the Rockport Commuter Rail station.
Downtown Rockport!
Next, we turned onto Broadway, which was lined with houses, churches, and inns. We soon passed another fire station, a business block, and a library, then turned onto Mount Pleasant Street. There was a common on the corner, while the street had some lovely businesses and buildings along it. Finally, we reached Dock Square, and this is where we deboarded the bus, which got ready to do a Green Line trip.
I like this picture more, but the “VIA EASTERN AVE” gives away the fact that this is a Green Line bus now.
There we go! We’ll just pretend it’s a Blue Line trip…
CATA Route: Blue Line (Gloucester – Rockport via Lanesville)
Ridership: On weekdays, this is CATA’s second-busiest route, with an average of about 125 riders. It’s only the fourth-busiest route on Saturdays, though, clocking in at around 45 riders. Both of these average out to about four people per trip, although I will note that my particular trip got packed due to around 15 runners who got on at a certain stop. Well, okay, “packed” relative to the rest of the CATA, but still.

Pros: This is one of the CATA’s more frequent routes, although that’s not saying much – every 2 hours certainly isn’t anything to be proud of. It’s also one of the more scenic trips on the system, with nice water views and lovely neighborhoods along the whole ride.

Cons: Okay, I have to ask why there are two trips – 6:01 and 6:31 PM – that run from the Gloucester Commuter Rail station to Rockport. Why do they only run from the station, and why are they within half an hour of each other? Other than that, the Blue Line’s ridership isn’t that good, but this is CATA we’re talking about – you really can’t expect much in that regard.

Nearby and Noteworthy: Lanesville was a really great-looking village, but I’m not sure if it’s interesting enough to hang out there for two hours. With regards to the route itself, it’s a pretty scenic way of getting from Gloucester to Rockport, although as we’ll discuss in the next CATA review, there is a better alternative…

Final Verdict: 8/10
For the CATA, the Blue Line is definitely a good one, both operationally and in terms of the ride. The schedule isn’t terrible for CATA standards (and considering the route doesn’t serve a dense area), and it seems to get at least some people. Plus, the ride is pretty scenic!

Latest MBTA News: Service Updates