Carpool options for Cambridge-Watertown Commute
August 2, 2016 8:21 AM   Subscribe

I'm going to be commuting from Cambridgeport to Watertown for three months starting in September. I don't have a car and my current plan is to bike along the river (about 50 minutes), which is fine but I'm not super excited about showing up to work disheveled or having to budget lots of extra time for showering/primping at work. Are there any grape-viney rideshare matching services in the Boston metro area that I've missed in my searches so far?

I've googled for rideshare sites and searched Craigslist but I'm not bringing anything current up. I'd be willing to pay up to ~$12 a day to hitch a ride with someone, since obviously I can't reciprocate by driving part of the time.

I've also considered trying to get someone to go in on a daily Uber Pool with me, but that seems like a dubious plan.

And, if anyone does this commute already by taking the 70 bus, please let me know if it's not as bad as at seems...(it would take longer than biking and I assume it's very crowded at peak times?)
posted by loquacious crouton to Travel & Transportation around Watertown, MA (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Maybe take the T from where you are to Harvard Square and then the #71 bus from there to Watertown. From the schedule the bus looks like a 20 minute ride peak times. The bus leaves right from the Harvard Square terminal. I lived in Watertown and commuted on the #71 bus into Cambridge years ago, and it was pleasant. The buses are air conditioned and electric, so they're quiet. You'd be taking it the non-peak direction (i.e., out of Cambridge and away from the T), which seems like it would be ideal. Why not try it now, while you're not under a time crunch, at the same time you would be taking it during a normal work day, and see how long it would take?
posted by clone boulevard at 9:10 AM on August 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The 70 is, indeed terrible. I commuted from near Target to Kendall Square (so, opposite direction) for several months and that bus is just always a nightmare. Unreliable and almost slower than WALKING, never mind biking.

Have you priced the UberPool, though? $12 a day seems like only just on the low side of what I would expect to pay for a commute between Watertown and Cambridgeport (I just priced out my old commute, for example, and it was $6.78 one way for one passenger). With coupons and promotional pricing and things, I think you could do it for around $12 a day. UberPool can also take a long time, though - the bridges are really the limiting factor for any kind of motor vehicle traffic. If you're close enough to a bridge that you can walk/bike over and take other transport from there, that might be your best bet. (Even the 57 is better than the 70.)

(Oh and I did take the 71 sometimes. It's much better than the 70.)
posted by mskyle at 9:11 AM on August 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Any chance the Arsenal Shuttle (Harvard Square to the Watertown Arsenal campus) is useful? It is theoretically "tenants only" (depends where you look: 1, 2), but maybe that's where you're going?
posted by teditrix at 9:17 AM on August 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Keep in mind that your office might have people looking to rideshare, also. You need an option for your first week, but you might have other options once you're there.
posted by clone boulevard at 9:18 AM on August 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Seconding that the 70 is a nightmare. I used to ride it in the direction you'd be taking it, and it is packed during commute hours, even though you're notionally going in the less-busy direction... and that's aside from the fact that sometimes several scheduled ones in a row just don't show up.

I have heard, but have not personally tested this, that the Arsenal shuttle may be useful even if you are not actually employed anywhere in that complex. At least one company encourages interviewees to use it, so they must not be super-rigorously checking ID badges or anything like that.
posted by dorque at 3:25 PM on August 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for your ideas! I've been commuting for about a week and unfortunately, not many people at my workplace are coming from my area. I got burned a few times with Uber surge pricing, so now I'm biking down the Paul Dudley White Bike path. It takes about 50 minutes or so but the ride is pretty scenic so so far I'm ok with it. I just make sure to get there early so I have time to change clothes and groom a bit.

I timed the 70 bus as well and it takes about 1 hr, so it's a viable alternative in case of really bad weather.
posted by loquacious crouton at 4:18 AM on September 2, 2016

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