I didn’t think the SRTA actually makes it to Rhode Island, but I was wrong – the FR 5 very much enters that friendly small state to the south. As for the rest of the route? It isn’t all that interesting, alas.

Boarding at the terminal. That “Harbour Mall” sign is outdated, as the plaza now has a new name.

We did a little loopy-loop coming out of the terminal, eventually making our way onto 4th Street. This was an extremely narrow road lined with dense houses, so it was a pretty big change when we suddenly merged onto the very wide Plymouth Ave. We weren’t on this for too long, though, as we soon turned onto Warren Street, another narrow road lined with dense houses.

Looking down a side street.

We turned onto Lapham Street, another narrow road with the same scenery, but then we turned onto Brayton Ave, which was a rather wide road with…the same scenery. We then made a left onto Stafford Road, and after going down that for a bit, we performed a deviation into the Seabra Supermarket. It was only saving people about a two minute walk, but okay, whatever…

In the parking lot.

We passed a park as the houses started to get more suburban and spread out. There were also a few businesses thrown in at certain intersections. Just before crossing Route 24, we turned into the SouthCoast Marketplace (formerly known as Harbour Market, as seen on the bus’s headsign). This was a fancy new mall complete with a Market Basket and even a modern bus shelter!

The best shot I could get of the shopping center.

This was also a well-executed deviation because we used the mall parking lot to get out to a new street, William S. Canning Boulevard. This wide road took us through an interchange with Route 24, and on the other side, we entered Tiverton, Rhode Island! We weren’t in it for long, though – after reaching a newly-constructed rotary, we looped onto Stafford Road, which took us back into Massachusetts. The route’s final stop was right on the border.

The bus going back towards the terminal.

SRTA Route: FR 5 (Stafford Road)

Ridership: In 2014, the most recent year for which I could get ridership data, it seemed the 5’s ridership was on the decline. In May of that year, the route averaged around 308 riders per day, down from an average of 467 in May the previous year. I don’t know what things are like now, but the route’s schedule is near identical to what it was in 2014 (and, indeed, 2013), so the changing numbers seem to have been due to other factors.

Pros: The 5 serves important destinations in the southern portion of Fall River, and for SRTA standards, it’s reasonably direct and most of the jogs make sense. It also has great frequency, with service every half hour weekdays and Saturdays.

Cons: First of all, this route has no night service, which I think would be useful considering that both Seabra and SouthCoast Marketplace are open until 9 and 11 PM respectively. It would be helpful for a lot of people if service was extended past its current 6 o’clock ending. On the topic of Seabra Supermarket, I don’t think this really has to deviate in there when it’s such a close distance to the road, but that’s the only problematic detour. Finally, I’m skeptical of the terminus – it’s one of those SRTA termini that’s just a street stop, and as I would come to find out later, buses tend to leave early from those kinds of stops. Just be aware that vehicles might depart the terminus a few minutes ahead of schedule.

Nearby and Noteworthy: Nothing that would be interesting to outsiders, but Seabra and SouthCoast Marketplace are both important shopping locations for Fall River residents.

Final Verdict: 6/10
The 5 seems like a decent route, but it has enough problems to bring its score down to a 6. Does it really have to directly serve the front door of Seabra Supermarket? Wouldn’t it be beneficial if it had night service (or even Sunday service, although there are other routes that need it much more)? Don’t buses leave that terminal early a lot? It’s an important route, but it has issues.

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