Nathan and I had decided on a whim to ride the UMass shuttles as we were approaching JFK/Umass on a Red Line train. Five minutes later, we were scrambling over barriers in the Umass Bayside Lot trying to catch a 3 laying over at the shelter way on the far end of the lot. Luckily, we made it before the bus left, and we were on board! Mission accomplished.

The bus in the parking lot.
Geez…the inside of the bus was disgusting, though. The lighting was a strange muddy hue, while the ancient seats were lined up along the side of the bus. There was a stop request screen up front but no means of actually triggering it, and the back door took absolutely forever to open. I will say that it was really cool how the tracker knows how crowded each vehicle was, though.

We headed out of the parking lot, although it took forever since some car was taking forever to pay. Once we made it out, we turned onto Mount Vernon Street, with a church on one side and a housing development on the other. We also went by a middle school, an elementary school, and a high-end apartment complex (with terrible reviews).

Oh boy, construction!

We turned onto University Drive North, but soon after, we made a short deviation to serve the Clark Athletic Center. No one got on, so we returned to University Drive, going by a bunch of construction. The street turned left and became Columbia Point, then we turned onto an unnamed street, going by the Massachusetts Archives (but the beautiful JFK Library was in view on the other side).We turned onto Columbia Point again, and soon arrived at the main UMass Campus Center.

Okay, I gotta admit, I love this picture.

UMass Boston Shuttle Route: 3 (Bayside – Campus Center)

Ridership: To my understanding, the ridership on this thing is really low. I mean, at a time when the other Umass route running, the 1 (which will be covered soon) was packed, the 3 had ridership in the single digits in the peak direction, and no one in the non-peak direction.

Pros: The Bayside Lot is a huge lot meant for commuters (students, staff, and visitors) to UMass, and this route is the link between that lot and the campus itself. The shuttle is frequent (every 5-7 minutes), meaning commuters don’t have to wait too long for the next bus.

Cons: The problem is that it’s run really inefficiently. They have one too many buses on this thing, to the extent that they get really long layovers, and you’ll often see two buses at once at the Bayside lot. You could easily run the route just as frequently by cutting a bus and shortening the ridiculously long layovers!

Nearby and Noteworthy: In terms of the route’s independent section, it’s…uh…literally just a parking lot. So no, there’s not much.

Final Verdict: 4/10
This route is definitely necessary in order to encourage people to park in the Bayside Lot, but it’s run in just about the worst possible way. Yes, it’s good that it’s frequent, but why do all the buses have such long layovers at each termini? It’s a really short route, so you could easily remove a bus and have it run just as often, and probably still have time for a decent layover. Use your resources better, Umass!

Latest MBTA News: Service Updates