You’d think a new ferry terminal would be at least somewhat of a big deal, but the T apparently didn’t think so – this place got practically no fanfare at all! That’s why Sam and I had no idea to expect when we headed down to Hingham to see the new Hingham Shipyard Terminal. What was it like? Let’s find out.
|A nice plaza in the Shipyard complex.
Hingham Shipyard isn’t just the name of the ferry terminal, but also the surrounding development. In conjunction with the new ferry terminal (or maybe just for the heck of it), a developer built an Assembly Square-esque retail “neighborhood” around the area. Despite that, the MBTA terminal still has room for a gigantic parking lot – is almost 1700 spaces enough, do you think? There are also a few bike spaces next to the building, as much as the T website wants to tell you there aren’t any.
|The building, with a stream of commuters advancing!
On the outside, the building is absolutely beautiful. It’s modern, with a lot of glass and metal. My only problem with the outside is that signage is practically nonexistent! The building has plenty of room for a beautiful T symbol, but instead, the only indication that it’s an MBTA station is a tiny sign outside the building that looks like it belongs at an office park.
But boy, any complaints go straight out the window when you get into the building. A rush of heat blasts you as you walk into a gigantic room with floor-to-ceiling glass windows on three out of the four walls. Bright LEDs provide light when it’s dark, while benches with beautiful wood designs line one of the windows,
|See last caption!
There are other amenities here, too. For example, one of the doorways leading into the office section of the building has some water fountains, while there are some random brochures next to the benches. (Providence Ghost Tours, anyone?) Bathrooms are directly accessed from the main waiting area, and I’m pleased to report that yes, they’re absolutely spotless!
Next to a poster about the building’s amazing energy efficiency, (a green roof, a geothermal heating system, and more!) there’s a ticket desk where you can buy your ferry passage. Now, I’m sure that office gets overrun with commuters in the morning, but when Sam and I were here in the late evening, the two staff members occupying the office seemed like overkill. The lack of a ferry schedule in the shipyard is annoying, although the people at the ticket desk were knowledgeable about departure times.
|The building from the back.
Leaving the building toward the dock, there’s an outdoor plaza area that’s surprisingly nice. It features a couple of big flags outside the building, as well as a picnic table that must be great to wait at in the summer – indeed, I hope they add a few more! I also like the weird orange “MBTA bus” sign, pointing toward the small bus stop that the 220 deviates to once in a blue moon.
|Heading down to the dock later in the night.
I think the walkway out to the dock is a remnant from the old terminal, since it didn’t seem as modern as everything else. Still, it did its job well, and I liked the well-lit blue shelter over the whole thing. I can understand the benches that were along the pathway, but the newspaper boxes? That seems like the wrong place to put those.
And finally, we get out to the dock. I mean, it’s a dock, there isn’t much else to say. It’s not the most organized of places, with a bunch of random stairs and ramps strewn all over the place, but commuters are only going to spend a few seconds here. At least it’s well-lit!
|Since I’ve already got a boat picture, here’s the 220 near the Shipyard with some great lighting!
Station: Hingham Shipyard
Ridership: Well, there aren’t any actual ridership statistics for the terminal specifically, but one thing we could do is take the average weekday ridership of the Hingham Ferry (2,654) and divide it by two, since it only has two stops – 1,327 riders per day? Well, it’s a number. Regardless, this place was swarming with commuters heading home when Sam and I were here. Our inbound trip had only one other person, but that makes sense – it was the evening.
Pros: Oh my gosh, it’s so beautiful! It feels like a miniature airport terminal, and I love it! The benches, the ticket office, the bathrooms, the huge windows…it’s all so amazing! Waiting here was just the greatest experience.
Cons: I have three very small problems with this terminal:
1. There’s no T symbol outside.
2. There isn’t a schedule displayed on the inside.
3. There are a bunch of outlets in the terminal, but no benches next to them.
But other than that. it’s perfecttttttt!!!
Nearby and Noteworthy: The easiest place to compare Hingham Shipyard to is, of course, Assembly Row…and honestly, I think the Shipyard is better. Sure, Assembly has a movie theater and that small Legoland (its two saving graces), but Hingham Shipyard’s got a lot more variety in terms of its businesses, including its own, vastly cheaper movie theater! There are a bunch of different restaurants and stores, and I think the seaside atmosphere is awesome.
Final Verdict: 10/10
No, it’s not completely perfect. I mentioned the three issues this terminal has, but the first two really aren’t that big of a deal. There should absolutely be benches next to all those outlets, though…but aside from all that, holy moly, this place is so great! From the energy efficiency to all the amazing amenities in the beautiful building, the Hingham Shipyard is an obscure little gem. Gosh, I could hang out here all day, I tell ya!
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