You may remember the last time I tried to ride the Barry’s Corner route – it didn’t go so well, thanks to Harvard’s old malfunctioning Blue Bird bus. Luckily, with some time between the end of school and a concert, I was able to head out and try again. Instead of the Blue Bird, this time I got a minibus, which is common for the route, I believe.
|The bus laying over in Harvard Square.|
Barry’s Corner is a sort of reverse-commute shuttle, running from Harvard Square to the Continuum in Allston, a modern complex from which most of the route’s ridership comes. I hopped on the bus along JFK Street, but after we headed past a bunch of businesses and a park, the bus had to lay over at the next stop. The minibus was pretty nice, with big poofy seats and a semi-jiggly wheelchair lift. Also, the radio was playing NPR, which is the most Harvard thing ever.
|Wow, it’s rare to see a minibus this crowded!|
After our layover, we made a hard turn onto Brattle Street, running through the heart of Harvard Square. There were many brick buildings housing businesses all around, and we also passed that modern Harvard Station entrance that leads into the bus tunnel. The street became Eliot Street and we went by a VERY crowded bus stop for the 66 and 86.
|Travelling down Eliot Street, with a 66 in the background. Thanks, rear window!|
The street curved around past some more businesses and Harvard buildings, then we turned onto JFK Street again. After a bunch of Harvard buildings, we traversed the intersection with Memorial Drive and crossed the Charles River. We went over Soldier’s Field Road on the other side, now travelling down North Harvard Street.
|Going over the river.|
We zoomed past a bunch more Harvard buildings, including the university’s gigantic stadium. After passing a few more sports fields, we turned onto a side street that led into a parking lot. We looped around and arrived at our terminus, the Continuum. As the other passengers and I got off, some workers from the building came outside onto the bus to get back to Harvard Square.
|The bus at the Continuum.|
Harvard Shuttle Route: Barry’s Corner (Continuum – Kennedy School – Harvard Square)
Ridership: Ridership seems to be strongest going toward the Continuum in the morning and away from it in the evening. Since I got on the bus before the “terminus”, there were five other commuters on board, but they got off in Harvard Square. The bus seems to run mostly empty in the non-peak direction.
Pros: Barry’s Corner is a route that serves its purpose, taking people from the Continuum up to Harvard Square. Its schedule is pretty good as well, running every 20 minutes during the morning and evening rushes.
Cons: I just think this route is a waste of resources. Wouldn’t it be better to put this extra bus on the Allston Campus Express during these rush periods to increase frequency on that route? It would allow for better balance of ridership, and you could even have the route deviate to serve the Continuum during those times so no service is lost.
Nearby and Noteworthy: There are a few businesses near the Continuum, but even a ride on this route is pretty cool. It’s just weird to parade through Harvard Square in a minibus!
Final Verdict: 6/10
For what it’s worth, Barry’s Corner definitely achieves its intended purpose: to serve the workers at the Continuum. But it could get more ridership while still achieving the same purpose if the bus was just put onto the Allston Campus Express. I mean, personally, I think that route doesn’t run often enough anyway, so I’d love to see more service on it.
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"Also, the radio was playing NPR, which is the most Harvard thing ever." Technically, WBUR is recorded on Boston University's campus. I guess it's still a very Harvard-esque station, though.
"From Boston University, this is 90.9, WBUR" – shoot, I shoulda remembered that! Good point!