Forest Hills to Ashmont
The 21 bus is one of a few crosstown buses linking the Red and Orange Lines south of Downtown Boston, yet despite this status, its schedule is pretty crappy, with buses running only every 16-18 minutes during the rush hour! During middays, it only runs every 23 minutes, only every 20 minutes at night, every 25 on Saturdays, and every hour on Sundays??!?!?! This is a vital crosstown link between two major rapid transit lines, plus a trolley line. It should not run every hour on Sundays. I took it during a midday on a weekday, and it got a decent amount of ridership, so I don't see why they can't make it every 20/25 minutes middays, nights, and all weekends. Anyway, here's the review!
After getting off the Orange Line, I headed to Forest Hills Lower Busway, where the 21 boards. After a short wait, our 21 pulled in, I boarded, and we pulled out of the busway onto Washington St, then immediately turned left onto the Arborway, a pretty massive stroad through Franklin Park.
The bus at Forest Hills Lower Busway
We passed a courthouse and some sort of MBTA building before speeding into Franklin Park, passing the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital, and heading across the park. We passed Harvard St, and entered the neighborhood of Dorchester, now on Morton St.
Lemuel Shattuck Hospital
Some three-story homes in Dorchester
We passed Blue Hill Avenue, a major commercial strip, whose junction had lots of businesses. We passed by more houses before going over the Commuter Rail tracks at Morton Street station on the Fairmount Line.
This car photobombed me :/
This was the best pic of the CR station I got...
We soon veered left onto Gallivan Blvd, and continued past more residential areas. We then turned left on Dorchester Av, entering the neighborhood of Ashmont, and soon turned into the Ashmont station busway.
Some homes along Gallivan Blvd
A hastily-taken shot, as I was running for the trolley!
Route: MBTA 21 (Forest Hills to Ashmont)
Ridership: According to the most recent MBTA Blue Book (2014!), the 21 gets 4,999 riders per weekday, which puts it towards the top of MBTA bus routes.
Pros: It's very fast, and it connects the Red and Orange Lines to each other and to Dorchester. It also has a decent schedule during weekdays, and an ok-ish schedule on Saturdays.
Cons: The Sunday schedule is absolutely terrible. No urban local bus route should run every hour at any time, much less one like this, that is a vital transportation link.
Nearby and Noteworthy: Dorchester seems like it has a bunch of cool ethnic businesses. Also, the Ashmont-Mattapan Trolley can be accessed using this route, which is a very cool thing to see and ride, even if you aren't a transit nerd like me!
Final Verdict: 9/10
The Sunday schedule sucks, the rest of the route is pretty great!