Each weekday morning, I commute from eastern Saugus to Charlestown with the bulk of the travel taking place on the 426. After getting off, possibly getting coffee (the Dunkin’ Donuts at Haymarket isn’t that bad) and getting my copy of Metro, I decide “bus or rail”. 95% of the time, I choose “bus” and most of the time I end up on the 93.
While waiting, I wonder what will happen. Will I get a bus that will go through the Navy Yard? Will I be on the run that’s already full of kids going off to school, many having come on the route from the subway? As I settle in, one thing’s for sure: the ride is a heckuva lot better than the Orange Line. (Re-)crossing the Charlestown Bridge which carried the old El the 93 technically replaced, it goes through the redone City Square area before (sometimes) seeing the history seeping out of the Navy Yard area before going through the largely residential heart of Charlestown, straddling the line between gritty and gentrified that Bunker Hill Street is. I get off near its end before it takes a circuitous route into Sullivan Square station and head off for another day of work having passed such living landmarks as the USS Constitution and the Bunker Hill Monument as if they were just anything.
The 93 may not have the glitz of some other routes but it serves its purpose of connecting the eastern half of Charlestown to downtown Boston and it does it well with some history on the side. And in all honesty, isn’t that what bus routes should do?
Next up: The 93’s split personality, the 92!
Route: 93 (Downtown-Sullivan via Bunker Hill). Rating (1-10): 7
Ridership: Outside of the inevitable people heading to and from Charlestown, the route has a decent amount of tourists between those heading from hotels in the City Square/Navy Yard area to downtown and of other tourists wanting to visit the USS Constitution and the Bunker Hill Monument. I guess it’s time to share the story of a good friend (and hopeful future Boston resident) that falls into the former.
Pros: Besides what’s already been mentioned, it’s a scenic alternative to the Orange Line and the fact that it’s one of the lucky few local routes that runs downtown is a plus. Save for Sundays, it runs at headways of 20 minutes or less around the clock to as often as every 7 in rush hour which for a non-key route is good.
Cons: Compared to the other six days of the week, Sunday service runs at 40 minutes headways with one bus operating the entire route. Though much of the route north of the Charles isn’t that far from alternatives, the contrast on paper is a bit stark.
Nearby and Noteworthy: Besides the ship and the tall thing of stone I’ve mentioned, there’s the northern half of the Freedom Trail as overly touristy as that sounds. Heck, the entire area is a good walk even with moderate hills. For my requisite food recommendation, Max & Dylan’s in City Square.