Since reentering the workforce at the end of February, my schedule has largely kept me from exploring The T which has shown in the lack of posts here the last few weeks as my weekends have been largely packed. On my morning 426 heading into Boston most days, I’ve noticed the 109 laying over at Linden Square on the Revere-Malden line and wondered “Should I ride this someday?” Somehow, someday turned out to be today.
While tens of thousands of other T riders dealt with a track fire shutting down the core of the Red Line, my commute involved an older RTS bus having three engine shutdowns before leaving Saugus before just giving up completely at Linden Square. While the huddled mass of 45 or so riders waited for another bus to be dispatched, I knew that this was my chance to get a ride on the 109 and several other riders had the same idea.
The 109 runs a relatively straightforward route using Eastern Ave in Malden, and MA 99 (as Broadway and Alford St) through Everett and Charlestown. On its route, it goes through the southern extreme of Malden then cuts through two distinct parts of Everett: the main commercial strip of Broadway and the industrial strip of Alford Street south of Revere Beach Parkway. Both of these portions are stereotyped with Broadway having an large amount of Italian and Central American restaurants while Alford Street is a lot more industrial. Both of these drive traffic to some degree though the real purpose to the 109 is to weave two diverse parts of the MBTA bus system together. A one-transfer ride on the 109 can go as far west as Reservoir to as far east as Salem Depot depending on time of day. To go that far on $1.25 (or $1.50) is a bit amazing if you think about it. Not Weymouth to Riverside amazing, but nonetheless…
If you’d like to see parts of Greater Boston that are rarely seen, the 109 is a good move to ride and if any bus fans are there, I recommend it as part of a bus fan trip given the connection opportunities.
Route: 109 (Linden Square-Sullivan via Broadway). Rating (1-10): 7
Ridership: Under normal circumstances, an assortment of riders going from Malden to Everett, Everett to Sullivan and connecting to/from the 109 in either direction. Aside from this morning’s unique circumstances, each run usually has a bunch of people who ride the whole route.
Pros: Connection opportunities aplenty. That and it gives a “value” option for some riders who want to get from points north/east but who don’t want to pay the $2.80 to get to Haymarket.
Cons: Right now, nothing of its own control. However, the Alford Street Bridge replacement has snarled the route especially during rush hour so if you must ride then give a little extra time as backups often go back to the end of Broadway.
Nearby and Noteworthy: The 109, with other routes, passes by the MBTA’s Everett Shops which is home to historical, 1957 vintage bus 2600 and prototype articulated bus 1000, both visible from the street. Also, the Honda dealership that the 109 passes is the site of the former Everett Station on the old Charlestown Elevated.
I also must give an honorable mention to Trinity Tattoo whose hours are listed as such.
“1:00ish to 9:00ish. Hours are subject to MBTA Incompetence.”
Talk about honesty and dedication!