Herding instinct observed in the wild

Herding busesTriginta novem on Huntington Avenue this afternoon. Photo by Kyle.

Scientists believe the behavior is an innate reaction to the presence of predators.



Free tagging: 



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These are most likely the Boston Latin supplementals.

That's the only reason there would be 2 40' NABIs on Huntington during the day. Unless, of course, Southampton is hurting.


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At least, according to my usually reliable BLS source, who says that while there are specials for several routes, the 39 isn't one of them.

When she takes the 39 ...

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She walks over to Huntington (as opposed to, say, the special 34, which pulls out from Ave. Louis Pasteur).

Technically, they are

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Technically, they are scheduled as Route 39 trips.

There are six Route 39-9 trips from BLS to Forest Hills, all departing at 2:15p. Upon arrival at Forest Hills they are thru-routed with the 21, 32, 34, 36, 37-3, and 38. Of course, the BLS students (except for three alums I know), wouldn't know which bus runs thru to which route. The operators just manually sign up for the final destination at BLS. All are run with Arborway NABIs. Three of these thru-routed trips date back to streetcar days. Can you guess which ones?

There are also two Arborway 39-7's leaving from the corner of Huntington and Longwood, both departing at 2:25p. Apparently there's a Southampton 39-7 departing at 2:28p. It of course just blends in with the "regular" 39's.

I'm old enough to remember when these and other supplementals still had the oddball route numbers like "97827" (a Burke HS trip). And yes, sometimes an operator would sign up that way, leading to many confused riders.

For your reference:

Route 39-0 = Abolished December 1989
Route 39-3 = Replaced the 39-0; the regular 39 we all love today
Route 39-4 = The wacky variation that ran to Ruggles vs. Back Bay
Route 39-7 = Forest Hills/Longwood Avenue via Ave Louis Pasteur
Route 39-9 = Avenue Louis Pasteur/Forest Hills via Evans Way

Tomorrow's class will look at the Middlesex & Boston supplementals of the late 1920s, the legendary Route 171 school trip of 2003, and tips for operating Brighton High trips. ;)

On school-days only there are

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On school-days only there are two extra trips leaving Back Bay at 2:24 and 2:43 using 40-foot buses from Arborway garage. In addition, there are two trips at 2;25 that start at Huntington and Longwood Ave which also use 40-foot buses from Arborway garage. This is in addition to the regular service using the articulated buses from Southampton St. garage. The photo looks to capture two of the four 40-foot extras along with the regular 60-footer.

Light dawns over Marblehead ...

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Got it now. I was talking about buses that leave from right in front of BLS. Didn't realize there were separate extra buses that run the regular route.


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Not sure about about the 39 Latin sup. I thought it was still kicking around but my time at 78 Ave LP is up. If it does still exist, I would imagine it would be one of the first runs to get dropped if another route needs to be covered.

My original point was that the quality (or lack thereof) of the image does not allow a clear read of the destination sign. I am suspicious that the 60' bus in the picture is regular 39 service and that the two 40 footers are, say, a 37 and a 38 on their Latin supplemental run.

BUT, its not like the 39 has never clumped or been cut down to 40 footers before. It should still be a trolley, obviously.


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I was observing four 57 buses pass in the span of 2 minutes earlier today and thinking something similar.

12 is my personal record

Once at Huntington/South Huntington many years ago (long before real time tracking), I saw twelve 39 buses in a row. I was waiting for an inbound, they were all going outbound. After I counted the twelfth I decided to walk.

The Latin supplementals

One of the advantages from where I live in West Roxbury is that a supplemental bus from Wren Street to Latin School shows up at 6:45. It comes in handy with connecting to the Green Line at Longwood Medical Area to pick up the Red Line at Park Street, but it usually is so crowded you have to stand the entire way (and get murmurs of "what the heck is he doing on that bus?"...and I tell the equally amused bus driver that either I'm going back for my GED or I come from the "dark side" - Boston Latin Academy).

Sometimes there's a bus that's virtually empty, and hopping on it brings you directly to Latin School - however, I can cross the street and board a Route 47 bus to Central Square and take the Red Line one stop to Harvard.