No free transfer

by admin

89 bus

When the MBTA rolled out its CharlieCard system, one of the most highly touted features was free transfers. No more double-charging the poor souls who live far enough from anywhere that they need a bus-rail or bus-bus connection to get to where they’re going.

It turns out, though, that if you’re transferring from one bus to another bus running the same route, you still have to pay twice.¬†Why would anyone ever want to do this?

Well, the 89 bus in Somerville runs from Sullivan Station to either Davis Square or Clarendon Hill. I think this is stupid, because there isn’t anything at the Clarendon Hill terminus other than a Foodmaster and a liquor store; no coffee shops, no bars, and certainly no Red Line station. So most days I just hang out at the stop until I see a rollsign that explicitly states “Davis Sq”.

But this past Tuesday, I was running behind and snagged the first available bus, which happened to be headed to Clarendon. The walk from Powderhouse Circle (where the two routes diverge) to Davis is short, downhill, and pretty, so I figured I’d just hop off there and walk.

Imagine my surprise, then, as a throng of other riders jumped off with me and ran back up the sidewalk, to a Davis-bound 89 sitting right behind us. That’s $17 extra dollars in the pockets of the T for maintaining an antiquated route, and letting the service that runs on it fall behind.

Image by Flickr user Eric Kilby under cc-by-sa-2.0.