Boston, MA– No, that headline is not some sort of Dr. Seussian riddle with a punchline at the end; it is a genuine question that many public transportation passengers are likely to be posing to the MBTA shortly.
The 73 bus is one that is prone to falling behind. Its schedule includes a number of significant stops throughout Waverley Square and Harvard. Some of the biggest stops on route 73 include Cushing Square, Benton Square, Brattle Street, Mt. Auburn Hospital, and Massachusetts Avenue, where there are likely to be big influxes of passengers. This knowledge might offer some insight as to why four 73 buses were seen within yards of each other.
Redditor u/Thoughts_for_a_Mint snapped an image of three 73 buses all in succession on the same street and made clear that the photograph was taken from yet another 73 bus, near to the intersection of Slade Street.
Speculation on the likely reason for this redundancy was offered by Redditor u/random_jls of Medford, as they linked the Wikipedia article for "bus bunching." Bus bunching is when multiple buses that were supposed to be traveling with a gap between each other end up running concurrently because one bus was unable to keep its slated schedule. Apparently, this act of bus bunching happened three times over as four 73 buses ended up on the same street as one another with each approaching the same stop simultaneously.
At least, if there was a big crowd waiting for the 73 bus, they would not have to worry about securing a seat, because a second opportunity was right behind it. And another was right behind that one, and so on! A gift to the late bus-catchers of the world. But it must be frustrating to be the one person waiting for the 71 bus, only to see 73 after 73 roll by. Yeesh, and how long would you have to wait for the next 73, after all four of these have moved on simultaneously?
In summary, it seems like perhaps the MBTA is not the most efficient public transportation system in the world. Huh.
Image via Wikimedia Commons / Pi.1415926535