The 24 is probably the FRTA’s best route, but our experience on it was one of the worst. It all started when a real clunker of a bus showed up at the JWO Transit Center about 25 minutes late…
So the 24 runs from Greenfield Community College in the west of the city to Turners Falls to the east, via the Transit Center (hence the name “Crosstown Connector”). My friend and I had the lame plan of taking it out to the Community College and then just staying on and coming back. The driver wasn’t having it, though: “CAN’T YOU READ THE SIGN? I’M NOT GOING TO TURNERS FALLS!!!!”
But as it turned out, the driver was right. I have this idea of FRTA that it thinks it’s a more legit bus system than it actually is, and what they did with the 24 is just another step in that direction: because the big school bus was 25 minutes late, they dispatched a second bus to do the Turners Falls section. I have so many logistical questions here, but wow, I just can’t believe they had a spare bus and driver around to pull off something like this. On the downside, it meant that we would only get to cover the Turners Falls half of the route…
Luckily, the 24 duplicates other routes for its entire Community College run, but it does have a tiny unique section on the eastern side! Most of it is shared with the (much less frequent) 23, though, including the starting portion along Main Street and High Street. We were out of downtown quickly, but houses were still dense, and we passed the Franklin Medical Center as the road got closer to a mountain.
The street started to get a little more industrial before we did a weird deviation into Stop & Shop that didn’t actually serve the front entrance. The only woodsy section we would see on the trip followed that before we turned onto Avenue A for a bridge over the Connecticut River. This took us on the brief unique section into beautiful downtown Turners Falls; the route ended a little bit past it, at Avenue A and 11th Street.
FRTA Route: 24 (Crosstown Connector)
Ridership: This route is too new to have figures, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s one of the highest ridership routes on the system. My ride got six people, and that was just on the eastern portion.
Pros: Hourly service from 9:15 AM to 6:15 PM, a decent service span for FRTA! A logical route that serves important destinations in the service area! And apparently a spare bus ready to jump in if the service is running late…!
Cons: A trip does run at 7:15 AM, but there’s no 8:15, which is a little annoying. And other than that, no weekend service, obviously.
Nearby and Noteworthy: Turners Falls all the way! I’ve definitely talked about this cool hipstery downtown before, but I’ll do it again: it’s a great place to be. It’s walkable, there are awesome businesses and restaurants. And…transit only serves it on weekdays. Shoot.
Final Verdict: 7/10
Like I said at the start: probably the FRTA’s best route. It’s still not great, mostly because it lacks any sort of weekend service, but the weekday service provided is mostly solid besides the gap in the morning.
Latest MBTA News: Service Updates