Is this…a useful GATRA route? That people…use? What?? Wow!!! Apparently the Link 1 is a halfway-decent bus!

Okay, the vehicle itself is terrible, but the route is good! This is at Cranberry Plaza.

I’m starting this review at the southern terminus of this route, which is a loop around a suburban neighborhood called “Cromeset” (although everyone other than GATRA seems to call it “Cromesett” with an extra T). We made the little loop, then we went up Cromesett Road, which continued to be residential. We also had to do a weird little deviation to serve what I think is some sort of housing building (Google Maps doesn’t label it and my picture isn’t very good).

I dunno what this place is!

There were a few businesses as we merged onto Marion Road, but it still remained mostly residential. Interestingly, Marion Road was also Route 6, the same Route 6 that continues onto the Cape to become its main thoroughfare. Anyway, we soon turned onto Swifts Beach Road, making what could be considered a “deviation,” but it was a busy one.

Deviating to a residential neighborhood that’s not a housing development? Woah!

We went by some relatively spread-out houses at first, but there were also some developments along the way. As we got closer to the namesake of Swifts Beach Road, everything got denser, and soon there were lots of houses all squashed together. We did a little loop via some very narrow streets to turn around, and although it was sad that we didn’t get to go all the way down to the beach itself, this deviation netted us three paying passengers and two kids!

Grant Street was one of those tiny loop streets.

Thus, we made our way back up Swifts Beach Road and came onto Marion Road again. We did a brief deviation to serve a small Shaw’s (the kind of deviation so short that you wonder why people can’t just walk across the parking lot from the street, but oh well – it’s GATRA we’re talking about), then we went by the Wareham Town Hall and Middle School. There were a few more houses as we turned onto Main Street, but things were about to change.

An interesting view coming out of Shaw’s.

Soon we came into Wareham Village, offering a slew of businesses along Main Street. Unfortunately, most of the retail buildings were either boring or flat-out unoccupied, but, had potential? There was even a “Commuter Rail station” in the form of the CapeFlyer stop here!

Going over the Wareham River.

We crossed over the Wareham River, where most trips would merge onto Minot Ave. However, I made sure to do one of the rare Link 1 trips that also serves Agawam Village, so we actually stayed on Sandwich Road for a bit. The Agawam Village deviation was well-executed, since the housing development was used as a path to make our way back to Minot Ave. It’s weird that it only happens three times per day, though.

We used Indian Neck Road to return to Minot.

Now safely on Minot Ave again, we sped past sandy woods, suburban houses, and the occasional residential development (one of which, Brandy Hill Apartments, we deviated to). There were a few random retail and industrial buildings where we merged onto Onset Ave, which became lined with houses. They got denser and denser as we got closer and closer to Onset Village, until…

Here we are!

All of a sudden, there were lots of charming businesses housed in really nice-looking buildings on both sides of the street. It wasn’t perfect – there were a few vacant lots and uninteresting businesses here and there – but it felt much more lively than Wareham Village. Plus, after we turned onto Union Ave and went through a brief residential neighborhood, there was a lovely section right along Broad Cove as we left the village!

I love the lone boat in the water!

There were dense houses for a little while, but once we crossed a single train track and turned onto Cranberry Highway, it all fell apart. It was just a mess of completely random buildings, including a go-cart center, a trailer park, and a water park. After that mess, which was thankfully brief, we turned into Cranberry Plaza, the hub of the Wareham routes.

See ya!

GATRA Route: Link 1 (Wareham/Onset/Wareham)

Ridership: This is, believe it or not, the 5th-busiest route on the GATRA. You really wouldn’t know it from looking at it, would you? The GATRA runs way quieter routes that actually use full-sized buses, while the 1 is stuck with these horrible minibuses. Well,
 anyway, it gets 157 riders per weekday and 135 per Saturday, which averages out to about 15 people per round-trip – not bad! My bus was even briefly at seating capacity. I’ve never seen that happen on a minibus!

Pros: This route clearly serves a lot of people, including some very dense residential neighborhoods. It has a good schedule overall for its ridership, running every hour on weekdays and Saturdays. I also think that the 1 may quite possibly have the most efficient deviations for a GATRA minibus route. Almost all of them got people!

Cons: Okay, but some of them were still stupid. For example, the Shaw’s one didn’t seem all that necessary, since the store was so close to the road anyway. Also, the one to that random building in Cromesett was just weird. The Agawam Village deviation did actually get people, but it’s so strange that the route only serves it three times per day – that just seems inconvenient for residents of the development. Also, why do almost none of the deviations show up on the route map or schedule?

Nearby and Noteworthy: I really liked Onset Village! It had interesting businesses, lovely buildings, and some great views, to boot.

Final Verdict: 7/10
The 1 is a really solid route, especially for GATRA. It clearly gets well-used, it serves some very important neighborhoods, it has a decent clockface schedule, and it features some nice views. I took off points because it uses minibuses (lame!), but more importantly because some of the deviations seem pointless, and most of them don’t even show up on the map! Still, this is a legitimately good route from GATRA, with most of the deviations getting decent ridership. Wow.

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