When I finished the 171, I was sure I was done. That was it. All the buses complete. Then I saw the anonymous comment (copied verbatim): “You stll need the 195 Shattuck Shelter-Park St. route.” “No, I don’t!” I thought. “It’s not on the website, so it’s not in my jurisdiction.” But just in case, I decided to check the website. Lo and behold, there it was. Sigh…how’s about one more T bus review?
|The bus coming to the Shattuck Hospital.|
The route starts out at the Pine Street Inn, a homeless rehab center next to the Shattuck Hospital – it uses the 16’s stop over there. The only time it comes here is 8:15 AM on weekdays, and 8 AM on weekends. That’s it. No return trips. Nothing. This is it!
|A field in Franklin Park.|
We headed down Circuit Drive, which zoomed its way through Franklin Park. On my side of the bus (the left), it was mostly forest, but the other side had a golf course. Eventually, we turned onto Franklin Park Road, someone hit the stop request, and they got off outside the zoo. Uhhh…I was under the impression that this route has only one stop between Shattuck and Park Street? It was a little weird to be making one here.
|A bouncy castle!|
We turned onto the wide Blue Hill Ave, then the slightly-less-wide Seaver Street. One side of the road was occupied by Franklin Park, while the other side had various apartments. Eventually the park went away – when this happened, the street became Columbus Ave. After a library and a tall circular apartment building, we came into Egleston Square, where there was lots of retail.
|The rocky edge of Franklin Park.|
North of Egleston Square, there were various apartments and a few auto shops. We passed Jackson Square Station, but this route is nonstop, so we didn’t have to deviate into the busway. The increasingly wide road came right up alongside the Orange Line tracks, while Roxbury Community College was on the other side.
|Roxbury Crossing Station.|
After Roxbury Crossing, the road became Tremont Street, and we passed the Boston Police Headquarters. It felt really weird to just stay on Tremont Street without serving Ruggles, but again, the 195 is nonstop, so we just kept on truckin’. The street wasn’t as wide now, and it was lined with various apartments and businesses.
|I’ve always thought that this gas station feels a little out of place.|
The one scheduled stop, Tremont Street @ West Springfield Street, was pretty popular, with a good chunk of the people getting off. The further we went, the more historic (and presumably ritzy) the apartments got. We passed a library, then there was an increase in the amount of businesses on the bottom floors of the brownstones. After going by the Boston Center for the Arts, there were some more recent (i.e. uglier) apartments, then we went over I-90.
|Wow, the John Hancock building is shrouded in fog…|
We were now on Charles Street South, and it curved past some impossibly narrow side streets lined with apartments and a few little parks. As we entered the Tufts Medical Center area, though, the buildings started to get far taller and newer. At one point, someone requested a stop, and we just…stopped, double-parked with a bunch of cars. At least three people got off at this weird non-MBTA stop.
|There’s an actual stop, like, 50 feet behind us…|
We headed out into greenery next, with the Boston Common to the right and the Public Gardens to the left. We turned onto Beacon Street, continuing our loop around the common, with lovely apartments on the other side. Outside of the Massachusetts State House, we turned onto Park Street, and then we finally made it onto Tremont Street. Okay, now the last route is done!!!
|So I guess 1657 is the last bus! Sorry, 1796…|
Route: 195 (Lemuel Shattuck Hospital – Tremont and Park Streets)
Ridership: This route is meant to transport discharged homeless people from the Pine Street Inn back into the world, and so that’s who the clientele is. Truth be told, I was expecting the ride to be a lot rowdier, but it was totally fine. There were about 15 people in total who rode, which isn’t that bad, considering the special function of the route.
Pros: This route is a really nice shuttle for discharged people returning to civilization. Our driver disabled the farebox so they didn’t have to pay, and the bus offers a quick ride into downtown. It was right on time, and the one trip schedules perfectly with the discharge time from the Pine Street Inn.
Cons: The one problem with the 195 is that it really should just operate as a drop-off only route at local stops rather than the nonstop thing it does now. It seemed like people wanted to get off at more stops than the ones posted on the website, so having it drop off at local stops would make things more organized.
Nearby and Noteworthy: Hey, if you have the determination to go to the Shattuck Hospital at 8 AM, you can…uh…go downtown, I guess.
Final Verdict: 9/10
We still get to end on a high note! Hooray! So this truly is the last MBTA bus review. I think. I hope. Well, okay, the Silver Line Gateway is opening up in 2018, so stay tuned for that! But yeah…it feels weird to be saying this again so soon, but thanks to everyone for reading and staying with me for over four years! It’s been an awesome ride, and it sure ain’t over yet.
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