Friday, May 2, 2008

Let's Go For A Ride On The 111

I ride the Route 111 pretty often. Overall, the route isn't that bad. That is, of course, if you are not riding during rush hour...

A typical morning commute might go like this:

You board a few stops before Bellingham Square heading towards Boston. As you get on, you see another bus coming down the street. "I thought the 111 ran every five minutes?" you ask yourself. Oh well. If you manage to get a seat make sure it's a good one. You're gonna be in for a real show.

You ride a few stops until you approach Bellingham Square. Show time!

Bellingham Square - We arrive at Chelsea's main transit hub, usually with company, and a swarm of people approach the bus. Rather than take the 114, 116, 117, or even the 112 to the Blue Line, commuters opt for the "quick" Route 111 to get them into the city. Despite the pleas of the driver...

"Please, I'm running late! There's another bus right behind me!"

"I've got to go. I can't take any more people, catch the next one."

...A large group of people still try to get on anyway. Luckily the inspector stationed there will often let people board via the rear door to reduce dwell times (time spent at each stop). The doors close and we're on our way.

Fourth Street - If there is still a bit of room, we'll stop to pick up. If not, some people get left behind I guess. Oh well, most of the buses often run in pairs so they don't have to wait long for the next one.

Chestnut Street - If you are lucky, someone is following you close enough so you don't have to stop here. There are often 10-15 people waiting at this stop and for those unfortunate drivers who must pick up, it's not a pleasant experience. The slow parade to the farebox begins. "Sorry, the machine didn't read your card. Tap it again. No, slower, like this. Try again. You don't have enough value on your CharlieCard, you need to add more. Hey! Can you all move to the back of the bus to make room." Then things may get heated...

One driver on the Route 111 strictly enforces the "no standees in front of the yellow line" rule.
Each time someone stands even just an inch over the line, he'll snap "Move behind the yellow line! I'm not going to move this bus until everyone is behind the line. I've got all morning to sit here."

He has sparked his fair share of arguments with riders.

Fifth Street - The last stop before the bridge. We often skip this stop. Not enough room. Just catch the next one. It's not that important a stop. Haha, look at them chase after the bus. Like we're going to stop for them.

Once on the Tobin Bridge, things move rather smoothly. The dense throng of standees sways along to the motion of the bus almost in unison as we fly across the Tobin. We then zip through the tollbooths and down into the City Square Tunnel. Within ten minutes were are pulling into Haymarket Station...along with two other buses.

Then there is the commute home...

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