No planes, but lots of trains and automobiles.
That was the theme for our Thanksgiving week trip to and from Florida. Even during one of the busiest travel days of the year, even on a Amtrak train that was sold out from Washington to Boston, all went well. Our travel home, on Sunday November 30, was flawless.
Until we reached Harvard Square.
It was shortly before 8:00 on a Sunday evening when we reached the 77 loading platform at Harvard Square. It was crowded, not a good sign. And we waited. And waited.
Finally, bus 0430 arrives and everyone climbs on board. Standing room only. Fully loaded, we took off up Massachusetts Avenue toward Arlington. Less than one block from Harvard Square, bus 0710 went zipping by. It was a classic case of bus bunching, even though none of the usual causes were present. Traffic on Massachusetts Avenue was minimal. Yes, the Red Line was running no farther than Harvard, with shuttle buses to Alewife. The buses were using the Harvard busway, but that was the only thing unusual on an otherwise quiet Sunday night.
All the way to Arlington Center, our crowded bus was escorted by an almost-empty companion.
I wrote a few weeks ago about the bunches of buses that populated Massachusetts Avenue on a quiet Saturday. Nothing changed, and 77 buses continue to bunch on an even quieter Sunday evening.
Why is this happening? I have no idea, but there is no excuse for such dramatically poor service on this bus line. Every bus rider with a smart phone can monitor MBTA buses, and they know when the buses are bunching.
If we know the buses are bunching on quiet weekends, why doesn’t the MBTA? Or, if they know the buses are bunching, why don’t they do something about it?