The 25 has really shifted around throughout the past few years – as far as I can remember, it’s had three different termini since I started paying attention to the WRTA. The one commonality between the route’s various permutations is its 0.8 mile unique section on Canterbury Street, and the current route is no different. So, let’s do a ride on the 25: the route the WRTA has no idea what to do with.
To get onto the main road, the bus first has to loop around the rotary to the east of the train tracks heading north of Union Station. We made it onto McGrath Boulevard, except we were only on there briefly because the route decides to jog to Myrtle Street and Southbridge Street, despite the fact that other WRTA routes don’t do that – I guess the relative “localness” of the 25 is used to justify it? The deviation took us past some offices surrounded by parking lots, but once back on the main road, things got industrial.
In the midst of the wasteland, we made a right onto Hammond Street to get under some train tracks, beginning the main Canterbury Street unique section with a left turn. While the whole street still has an industrial vibe to it, it eventually became lined with dense houses, apartments, and a few businesses. At an elongated four-way intersection, we hooked a right onto Cambridge Street.
Cambridge Street had houses along it too, but there was also a Salvation Army building in an old factory, some industrial buildings, and a Price Chopper. That latter type of scenery continued as we turned onto Main Street and then merged left onto Stafford Street. One side of the road was occupied by a lake and its surrounding marshes, but there was eventually enough spare land to stick a row of houses along there. Once Webster Square Plaza came up on the other side, that was the end of the route!
WRTA Route: 25 (Union Station Hub – Webster Square Plaza via Canterbury Street)
Ridership: This is a tough one to gauge because no ridership data exists for the route’s current form. Back when it went to the Auburn Industrial Park, it received 217 riders per weekday and 138 per Saturday, well below the WRTA averages. Even factoring in how short of a route it is, its financials and productivity are below average too. My trip got just two riders, and both of them went to Webster Square Plaza – a location well-served by other, more frequent WRTA routes.
Pros: Having service on Canterbury Street is the kind of thing that politically feels like it needs to exist, even if ridership is relatively low. The route runs hourly on weekdays, which I guess is fitting of the ridership.
Cons: There are better ways to serve Canterbury Street, I think. What about routing the 33 this way, for example? If anything, the routing is slightly faster than going via Main Street like it does now, and that would give the WRTA a spare bus to use to boost frequency on other parts of the system.
Nearby and Noteworthy: Nothing much on the independent section – it’s mostly industrial and residential.
Final Verdict: 4/10
Eh. It does its job okay, but there are certainly much better ways to provide service to Canterbury Street. This weird, short, self-contained thing? That ain’t it.
Latest MBTA News: Service Updates
Way to be there, 25…
I appreciate that you are trying to balance college and your blog, hence the long waits, thank you so much Miles!
Also, just wondering, what’s your favorite RTA system?
And do you prefer SEPTA or MBTA?
Keep up the good posts! (but school first)
Thanks, Cedric! I think my favorite Massachusetts RTA is probably the PVTA, since they feel the most like a “real” bus system (although as far as the smaller ones go, BAT is terrific). And SEPTA versus MBTA is a long and nuanced debate, but to generalize it, I think that the MBTA has better communication and better rail coverage, but SEPTA generally has better operations.