Watertown Bus Statistics

The MBTA recently released the 2014 Blue Book – a compendium of statistics, facts and figures about MBTA service systemwide. In light of recent conversations about bus capacity in Watertown, I decided to take a closer look at the statistics in the new Blue Book for routes serving Watertown:

Watertown is currently served by 10 total MBTA bus routes, below is the average weekday ridership for each route and where it ranks out of 169 total bus routes.

Route                  Boardings                       Rank

52                           766                                       126th

57/57A                  10,094                                 9th

59                           1,497                                    88th

70/70A                  5,255                                    23rd

71                            5,548                                    21st

73                           6,424                                    14th

502                         1,206                                    104th

504                         1,548                                    86th

554                         649                                        131st

558                         429                                        144th

Additional statistics from the four busiest routes in Watertown:

57           Watertown Square – Kenmore Square

The 57A only operates during peak periods and does not serve Watertown.  This accounts for the slight decrease in service to Watertown Yard during peak times.

57 Round Trip Length: 11.32 miles

AM Peak              8 vehicles – 10/11 minute headways

AM Base              9 vehicles – 10 minute headways

PM Peak              9 vehicles – 11/12 minute headways

PM Base              10 vehicles – 9/10 minute headways

57A Round Trip Length: 7.83 miles

AM Peak            6 vehicles – 10/11 minute headways

PM Peak             7 vehicles – 11/12 minute headways

70/70A  Cedarwood – University Park, Cambridge/North Waltham-University Park, Cambridge

The 70/70A functions as a single route through Watertown but it is important to note that it splits in Waltham and serves two different sections of town.

70A Round Trip Length: 29.03 miles


AM Peak              5 vehicles – 30 minute headways

AM Base              2 vehicles – 60 minute headways

PM Peak              5 vehicles – 30 minute headways

PM Base              3 vehicles – 60 minute headways

70 Round Trip Length: 19.07 miles

AM Peak              7 vehicles – 15 minute headways

AM Base              5 vehicles – 25 minute headways

PM Peak               8 vehicles – 15 minute headways**

PM Base              5 vehicles – 25 minute headways

**I extrapolated this information, there are two additional buses that turn around in Waltham Center during PM Peak that run on 30 minute headways, I combined this with the rest of the 70 route, which has 6 vehicles running on 15/20 minute headways. This should roughly reflect the experience of a Watertown commuter.


71           Watertown Square – Harvard Square

Round Trip Length: 7.44 miles

AM Peak              9 vehicles – 7 minute headways

AM Base              4 vehicles – 15 minute headways

PM Peak               7 vehicles – 9 minute headways

PM Base              6 vehicles – 10 minute headways


73           Waverly Square – Harvard Square

Round Trip Length: 8.13 miles

AM Peak              12 vehicles – 6 minute headways

AM Base              4 vehicles – 15 minute headways

PM Peak               11 vehicles – 5 minute headways

PM Base              5 vehicles – 11/13 minute headways


What other information would be helpful? I’ll continue to post more here if anyone has any questions!

Andrew Bettinelli
Legislative Aide
Office of State Senator William N. Brownsberger

3 replies on “Watertown Bus Statistics”

  1. Good work, Andy. Much appreciated. Since you asked for input …

    1) How statistics for the Green Line? As a side note I don’t detect that there is any schedule at all for these trains. Particularly the C line seems to come and go at random.

    2) How about numbers for the 86 to and from Cleveland Circle?

    3) It would be interesting to see farebox revenue on each line. My observation is that up to 20% of riders never pay a fare. Dividing total farebox revenue by total ridership by would indicate where fares are not being collected.

    Cheers, Scott

  2. Thank you for this information.

    I am on the 71 to Harvard every morning and afternoon. My only real issue is waiting for the 71 bus in the evening rush hour at Harvard and watching three, sometimes four ( I am NOT exaggerating) 73 buses pull out for Belmont. One of them might be near capacity but since the next two or three arrive within a few minutes, those have a dozen or fewer passengers. Meanwhile, the lone 71 bus eventually shows up and it is a rugby scrum to get on it. We all know the next 71 wont’t be showing up for a while. Why is there such great service for the 73 route and poor service for the 71?

Comments are closed.