The 2 turned out to be a dastardly one to ride. Earlier in the day, Sam and I had tried to get it from its Shaw’s terminus to ride it around its long terminus loop, but it had left Shaw’s early. Surprise. I had to grab it later from the Fall River Terminal instead.
We headed out from the terminal and made our way over I-195, eventually coming onto North Main Street. I was surprised – most of Fall River had been underwhelming, but this little strip on North Main was actually kinda charming. There wasn’t even much in the buildings on either side, but there were these nice trees that made it feel a lot more welcoming. I guess that goes to show how far greenery goes in improving the urban landscape.
It started to get residential soon, with some dense but nice suburban houses lining the road. There were also a few businesses, particularly around the intersection with President Ave (also the location of a school and a park). On weekdays, there’s an extra deviation here that runs to a place called Commonwealth Landing. It seems like it’s meant to serve Bristol Community College, but there are also some apartments there.
The street became a big mix of stuff after that. We went by a cemetery, then there were houses, businesses, and some factories converted to modern uses. Crossing over Route 79, a highway, we got closer to the Taunton River and it was almost all suburban houses for a while. That changed when we pulled into the route’s last stop, Riverview Marketplace – or, as the SRTA calls it in the schedule, “Shaw’s”.
Except it’s not actually the last stop, it’s just where I got off. When you’re reviewing every bus route on the system in a day, you need to make some cuts, especially if the route screwed you over beforehand! The rest of the 2 consists of a big loop, running clockwise or counterclockwise depending on the time of day. It was the morning in this case, so the bus would have made its way onto Airport Road, running through (and deviating into) an industrial area. It would then turn onto Innovation Way, which is all woods aside from an Amazon facility, which also gets a deviation. Finally, now in Freetown, the bus would have turned back onto Main Street, going past some apartment complexes – one called Four Winds gets a deviation – before returning to Shaw’s.
SRTA Route: FR 2 (North Main)
Ridership: For the SRTA, this route gets great ridership, with about 508 people per day in May 2014. In fact, this is the busiest bus route in Fall River. We’ll see why this fact annoys me once we start talking about the schedule…
Pros: The 2 takes a nice, direct route as far north as Shaw’s. The Commonwealth Landing deviation on weekdays is pretty annoying, but it’s a really pedestrian-unfriendly area, so I understand why they do it. On weekdays, the route runs every half hour from 6 AM to 9 PM – pretty darn good.
Cons: But on Saturdays, it’s every hour! Why? They run half-hourly Saturday service on other routes that get far less ridership than the 2! Also, there’s this twice-daily deviation to “Holmes Apartments” that just complicates the route. I think the residents of Holmes Apartments can stand to walk five minutes to the main route, and then we don’t need this random deviation to just make the route more complicated. Finally, I’m mad that it left Shaw’s early, but at least we had cut it really close so it didn’t feel as cruel as the 9.
Nearby and Noteworthy: This route serves a ton, actually! First, there’s the Children’s Museum of Greater Fall River, which seems like a nice little place for little kids. There’s also the Fall River Fire Museum, which isn’t open to the public “as of yet”, but it’s run by some very dedicated people and they seem to open up for the occasional event. Finally, the loop at the northern end of the route serves part of the Freetown-Fall River State Forest. It looks like it has some beautiful trails with stunning views!
Final Verdict: 6/10
I can’t get over the hourly Saturday service. The busiest route in Fall River only runs every hour on weekends! That’s just crazy to me! Also, this is a prime route for Sunday service if the SRTA ever adds that, which they absolutely should. The Holmes Apartments deviation is also annoying, and in general, this route makes a ton of deviations (particularly on the loop section). That all adds up to a final score of a 6/10 – it’s a good route otherwise!
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