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There are a lot of ways to get around Allston. Feet, unicycles, the MBTA, various college buses, Hubway, Zipcar. Depending on what your goal is, each of these serve a different purpose and demographic.
The MBTA is the most obvious, but which route to select can be confusing. Google Maps has gotten very good at telling you what the quickest way to get from point a to b is. That, combined with the many various bus apps, can get you anywhere.
Here’s a break down of the different ways to get around in Allston and Brighton:
The Green Line: The B Line can be your best friend and also your worst enemy. Often it will zoom by because it’s too full as early as 8:30 a.m.if you’re on Harvard Ave., so you’ve got to plan for a long commute. If you live far enough up Comm Ave you can usually get a seat, and if you ride often enough you become aware of all the best stairwells and nooks and crannies that you can cram yourself into in order to avoid making physical contact with the general pleb population. That stair seat is really the best spot on the whole T.
You can get to most of the major parts of the city using just the Green Line, and you can get out to Newton which is a great escape full of fancy, delicious restaurants. If you’re in Brighton there’s the C line which is 10,000 times better than the B as far as comfortability of the commute (way less students, way less men taking up too much space on the train). The C Line goes through Brookline, our fancy neighbor with all the delicious sandwich places.
Sometimes the Green Line goes express which is basically the same thing as riding a unicorn down a rainbow while a chorus of baby angel Lorde’s sings to you about how everything in life is going to be OK now.
The 57: When you have a good 57 day you are basically the winner of the MBTA because it goes so much faster than the Green Line and comes so much more often than most buses. You zoom down Comm Ave to Kenmore and know very little of the daily hell the rest of the commuters experience. If every bus could be the 57 we would never be late to work again. This used to be the “A” line if you like random trivia, and it’s still basically as good as that would have been … probably.
The 66: Not many people know this, but the 66 bus is actually one of the circles of hell. Every time you ride the 66 a part of your dignity and soul wither away like a raisin in the sun. Unfortunately, it is one of the most convenient routes that exist. It’s very popular so it stops constantly, it is always crowded, no one moves to the back of the bus, and everyone sits on the outside seat and makes you step over them. If you ever need to get somewhere that people need to go to though, it’s likely you’ll need the 66. JP and Harvard Square are pretty awesome, I guess the 66 is the penance you must pay to go there.
The 86: The less convenient, but equally useful younger brother of the 66 will get you from all the out-of-the-way spots in Brighton to Harvard and all the way through to Somerville. It’s less frequent than the 66, but somehow more reliable.
The 64: The 64 seems to be mostly a commuter bus, but if it weren’t it would be the most useful. Central Square is literally right there, right over the bridge, so close you can see it from Lower Allston, but it’s SO HARD TO GET TO ON THE TRAINS. If the 64 ran as often as the 57 it would be the most useful bus in Allston, going from Oak Square all the way to Kendall, through or near pretty much all the coolest neighborhoods around. At least until Veggie Planet/Galaxy opens another store on vegan row. Take advantage of this smooth ride whenever possible.
The 65: Similar to the 64, this bus is mostly a commuter bus but it gets you from Brighton Center to Kenmore through Mission Hill. Allston and Mission Hill would probably be sisters if it were easier to get between the two. Try the 65 whenever you want to get through Brookline Village or Longwood, it’s always quiet and nice.
The 47: This route goes from Dorchester to Cambridge and cuts through BU real quick on the way. Very convenient way to get to Dot and back, would be crazy super useful if it went to UMass Boston, though.
The 70/70A: These guys are great because they get you pretty deep into the burbs and to Central Square, but they’re inconveniently all the way down on Western Ave so if you don’t live in Lower Allston they’re not super useful.
Did you know that because you’re a Boston resident, you can go through a local non-profit called Boston Bikes and get a subsidized Hubway membership? (As long as you’re not rich; if you are just buy a bicycle come on now.) It’s silly not to. They even give you a free helmet, so there are basically no excuses not to get a membership, it will get you out of a tight squeeze at least once, making it completely worth it. Riding a bike in the city is scary though, so please be very careful and practice if you can.
ZIPCAR/HERTZ ON DEMAND
Short term car rentals can be awesome for picking up free stuff on Craigslist and driving to visit mom or checking out restaurants that are too far away for public transportation because you will die of hunger before you even get there. Short term car rentals are not great for going to the bars. Don’t be a ninny.
What are your tips for getting around in Allston without murdering the entire world?