Transit of Rockland Loop 3
Suffern to Spring Valley
The Rockland County bus system, in addition to having normal routes with full-sized buses, also has three "Loop" routes. Two of these are deviatory loops around the town of Monsey, but the third one is this, the just-as-deviatory Loop 3. Why this route exists is a mystery. All it is a more deviatory version of the 59, the route that just heads straight across the county, but this route short-turns in Spring Valley. Why anybody would ride this is a mystery to me, because basically every deviation is within a short walk of the 59, which takes 29 minutes from Suffern to Spring Valley, versus this route's 48 minutes. In addition, this route runs minibuses, which are...less than ideal to be on for almost an hour. Hope you enjoy
me going insane on a deviatory minibus this review of the Loop 3!
The trip started at the Hudson Link "BRT" "station" in Suffern. Soon enough, a minibus pulled up, and I boarded. The farebox, which shockingly was electronic, was also broken, so I didn't have to pay the $2 fare. We pulled out of the stop, turned right on Chestnut St, and left on Lafayette Av (also signed as Route 59).
The "bus" pulling into the "BRT" "station"
Turning into Chestnut St
We headed east out of downtown Suffern on Lafayette Av, but less than a minute after leaving downtown, we turned left to make our first deviation, to the Esther Gitlow Towers. We pulled in and looped around, no one got on, and we turned left back out onto Route 59.
There is a stop for the 59 literally at the front gate...why would anyone take this route?
We passed by the Good Samaritan Hospital without deviating, but immediately after passing it, we started our second deviation. Where to, you ask? The "Bon Aire Circle Swimming Pool", according to the schedule. Um...ok, Transit of Rockland, you do you. Anyway, we turned right onto Campbell Av, and then right again onto Bon Aire Circle.
Good Samaritan Hospital
Turning onto Campbell Av
We passed some quite large homes, before turning right on Milford Ln, and right again on Bon Aire Circle West (creative street names, I know). We passed where the GTFS data and schedule referred to as the swimming pool timepoint, and...there wasn't a swimming pool to be seen. Just a parking lot with a "No Parking" sign.
Turning onto Milford Ln
Last I checked, you can't swim in a parking lot...
We finished this deviation by turning back on to Bon Aire Circle, and then retracing our steps to Route 59. We turned right on Route 59, passing some forested areas, as well as a very crappy-looking strip mall. We finally left the village of Suffern, then immediately turned right on Airmont Rd to make a deviation to the Pondview Apartments.
A classic crappy suburban strip mall
We continued on Airmont Rd to Pondview Drive, and turned left here, passed through the Pondview Apartments, then went around a mini-traffic circle, and headed back to Airmont Rd. We headed north to Route 59, then crossed it to start our next deviation, to Airmont Gardens.
No pond nearby, yet "Pondview"...
This looks VERY car-oriented - not a shocker that no one got on here...
We turned right on De Baun Av, passing a gas station, then looped around Airmont Gardens, which appeared to be a senior living community. We then turned right back onto Airmont Road, passing a very cool-looking (but sadly derelict) diner, then turned left back onto Route 59.
You can sort of read "Airmont Gardens"
We soon reached a Walmart, which the schedule says we deviate into, but the GTFS says we don't. We ended up deviating, and headed around the parking lot, eventually coming back to Route 59, and turning left. Wait, why are we slowing down? Why are the doors opening? WHY ARE WE PICKING SOMEONE UP OUTSIDE THE WALMART AFTER DOING A DEVIATION TO THE WALMART?!?!? TRANSIT OF ROCKLAND, HOW DRUNK WERE YOU WHEN YOU THOUGHT THIS UP?!??!?!
Mmm, love me a good Walmart parking lot
The bus stop, notably NOT in the parking lot we just DEVIATED INTO
After that waste of time, we continued on Route 59, and turned left on Spook Rock Road, beginning a double-deviation. All was normal as we turned left on Dashew Dr into the Montebello Commons. However, when we got to the end of the road, instead of using the parking lot to turn around, we literally just backed up and did a 3-point turn. You know what, I've given up trying to understand these deviations.
The entrance to Montebello Commons
This is a public bus route. Making a 3-point turn. Help.
We turned left on Spook Rock Rd, starting the longest deviation of the route, to Rockland Community College. We turned right on Highview Rd, in a very classic-for-Rockland-County leafy suburban area. When we hit College Rd, we were supposed to turn left to head up to RCC, but we just completely skipped that, and turned right instead. I would say that's a bad thing, but the RCC deviation is actually the most useless, as both the 94 and 59 go to Spring Valley from there, in faster time than this route.
Turning onto Highview Rd
This is the height of suburbia.
With that out of the way, we headed back to Route 59, and turned left, crossing over the thruway and entering the town of Monsey. We soon turned right on Saddle River Rd, then left on Old Nyack Turnpike. After passing through more of suburbia, we turned left on Route 45, which soon brought more urbanism with it as we entered Spring Valley. We turned right on Franklin St, then left into the Spring Valley Transit Center, ending this adventure!
Crossing over the thruway
The "bus" at Spring Valley Transit Center
Route: Transit of Rockland Loop 3 (Suffern to Spring Valley)
Ridership: I couldn't find any official ridership figures, however my bus got only 3 people (excluding me). 1 person used it for local travel within Suffern, 1 used it from the Walmart to Spring Valley, and the last used it for local travel within Monsey. Since my trip was a rush hour trip, I'd imagine ridership is usually equal to or lower than this.
Pros: The one pro I can think of is that it does directly serve a few senior living communities.
Cons: Firstly, to address the pro I just mentioned, Rockland County has a paratransit system, and anyone over 60 is eligible, so serving senior communities isn't really a pro. However, the main con is the damn deviations. This route has SEVEN deviations, over a ~10 mile route. That is unacceptable. Also, the Walmart deviation was just insane, and frankly stupid. Literally everyone taking this route could either take the 59 or use paratransit, so even ignoring its deviations, the route itself is useless.
Nearby and Noteworthy: Suffern has a cute downtown, and Spring Valley has lots of Latin American businesses, but the rest of the route is just suburban hellscapes.
Final Verdict: 2/10
Just cut the route, TOR. Use the buses from it on boosted paratransit service in the area.