Cape train service extended through Columbus Day weekend

The Cape Flyer weekend service between South Station and Hyannis was originally going to end Labor Day weekend, but MBTA and Cape officials say it's proven popular enough to warrant the extra weekends:

The long awaited return of weekend rail service to Cape Cod has proven successful, attracting a total of 11,031 customers for the period from the beginning of service on Memorial Day weekend through this morning, August 11th.



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Great News

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Next year the rail should run all year round.

This is GREAT news

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This is actually GOOD news, as CapeFLYER needs at least 700 passengers in a weekend to break even. And it's exceeding that and even making a little bit of a profit. This means this service is 100% funded by ridership and isn't dependent on the MBTA or the CCRTA. (this means this service will be hard pressed to ever be cut since it can support itself)

Ridership has actually beat all expectations all around which is why it's being extended. I have a feeling next year they may move to two trains and make it year round (with limited service during the winter).

Maybe if ridership improves alot over the next 5 years maybe it will be extended further down the cape. I know a pipe dream.. but it would be nice to travel by train from Boston to Ptown with stops all along the way. That really would most certainly help traffic on Route 3 and the mid-cape highway.


There's already the ferry

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From Boston to PTown.

I'm not sure if there's a bike rental places at both ends of the Cape. But these services combined makes it seem like a good idea for someone to open a bike service were you can rent in Ptown or Hannis, and pickup/drop it off at either.

Obviously not for everyone, but the Cape Cod Rail trail really isn't that long and an excellent way to get around while enjoying the scenery and towns.

The ferry is awesome but

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it's expensive--$55 one way or something like that? The train costs the same as the bus, takes a bit longer but is very pleasant and scenic. I took it recently and it was packed with all sorts of folks, including lots of foreign tourists. There were guys offering bike rentals at the Hyannis terminal but also quite a few people brought their bikes on the train which is awkward or impossible to on the P and B on a weekend.

Not an option

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I believe that the railroad to Ptown is basically gone: rail-trailed or abandoned. The Hyannis branch was still maintained for dinner service, so it was cheap and easy to restore, relatively speaking.


Wow, 11k train riders

11,031 trips(?) in 75 days is maybe 1/2 a day's vehicular traffic over the Bourne and Sagamore bridges on a weekday. At least they have data now showing weekday runs are not worthwhile.

No Mr. Troll

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36 days, as the service only operates on the weekend. It also only runs 1 train to and from.

That's 306 cars a day less on Rt3 or 495.


You may not have any friends, but others do

You make the poor assumption that there is only 1 occupant in each vehicle traveling to and from the cape on the weekends. The truth is that normal people going to and from the cape have friends and/or family members traveling with them. Cars, unlike most bicycles can carry more than one person. Your assumption is even worse than general commuting traffic where about 78% of personal vehicles are single occupancy, not the 100% used in your math. You need to cut you assumption at least in half as usually cars, jeeps, and SUVs with 3 or more people in them visit the cape. That would figure 75 fewer vehicles on each of the Sagamore and Bourne bridge on a weekend day, less then the variability of traffic volumes from one weekend to another.

Wait a second. How are you

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Wait a second. How are you cutting 306 in half and getting 75? Average car occupancy is 1.59. Even if you are generous and round that up to 2 based on your argument that more people are likely to ride in a single vehicle on a vacation weekend, that's still 150, not 75, cars you've taken off the road. The capacity of those bridges is 3,000 per hour, so that's 5% of the hourly capacity of the bridge, which can definitely make a difference in whether the bridge gets backed up or not. It doesn't really make sense to compare the train usage rate against the daily capacity, as there is only one train per day so people who need to arrive or leave at other times still need to drive. But it does help cut down on peak usage; you can argue whether you should compare it to one hour's worth of capacity or a few hours worth, but either way, it's cutting usage down by a few percent, and a few percent can be the make or break between free-flowing traffic and a large backup.

Of course, you also discount the fact that the train allows some people to travel who otherwise wouldn't be able to. For instance, not everyone has a car, and bringing a bicycle on the bus is a much bigger hassle than bringing one on the train. You act as if the only value of the train is to reduce congestion on the roads, but is it a preferable mode of transport for some people for other reasons as well.

Two bridges, 75 each

Two bridges, 75 vehicles on each. Probably might not be an even split, and 100-50. Where did the 1.59 occupancy figure come from? Reference?

We're sure you have tons of friends

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because you're such an agreeable, easygoing guy. Have you ever driven to the Cape on a Friday night? Try it some time and start noting the number of solitary drivers and the HOV lane which is rarely crowded.


We get it

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You hate bicycles and public transit just as much as Matthew hates cars. We get it.


No hate, just reality check

Its not a matter of hate, just putting the train's "success" into perspective. Its also comparable to 4 coach buses going down and back, the other major option for car-less people who can't or don't want to rent a car. A highly subsidized train option added to compete with two private bus companies for a small customer base hardly seems like good public policy.

We can't guess how many cars were taken off the road without knowing what happened to bus ridership numbers. Priced similarly, some mode shift likely was from bus to train, not all car to train.


Do tell

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How profitable is it keeping all the road to the cape in top shape?

How subsidized is road repair on these throughways? Especially for everyone west of 128 that almost never uses them?

blah blah blah. Why is it that public transportation needs to self fund, while roads can suck up as much tax revenue as needed?



Few west of 128 never use roads going to the cape? Are you saying that only people inside the 128 belt drive to the cape?

There's nothing wrong with investing in rail, as long as there is sufficient demand and reasonable cost-effectiveness. Profitability is a way to judge cost-effectiveness, not some philosophical measure. Demand is simply much higher for roads, hence, invested in.

Putting the central artery underground to most people seems like an inefficient use of limited transportation funds. Elevated roads are much less costly.

Profitability is only

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Profitability is only measures cost-effectiveness if you fail to take into account externalities.

Externalities like the extra pollution produced by cars, the congestion caused by more cars on the road, the cost of all of the free (and below market value) parking for so many cars in the city.

Or in the case of elevated roads, the drastically reduced market value of abutting property; I recall the area where the old elevated Central Artery was being a dark, grimy, blight on the city, and now it's a lovely open area in the city.

Now, given how much over budget it went, was the big dig worth it? I'm not really sure of that; the cost was so exorbitant that it's pretty hard to justify. But the end result is ever so much nicer, at least from the perspective of someone who doesn't have to drive through it on a regular basis.

Its not subsidized. The train

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Its not subsidized. The train has actually made a profit. That's why they're considering it a success.

You could argue that the state maintaining the track and stations is a subsidy, but that would happen regardless because of the limited freight service and the dinner/tourist trains, and is a drop in the bucket compared with maintaining the roads to the Cape.

No fair!

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I don't hate cars; I just hate seeing neighborhoods turned into parking lots and lifeless drag strips. I hate having my tax dollars sucked into such destructive purposes. I hate seeing all our community's wealth get siphoned out-of-state into oil-rich countries. And I hate being forced to depend on a car to go anywhere.

A car is just a tool; it becomes a nightmare when it rules your life.

Fair enough

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Though I do kind of accept I need a car to get to some really rural places...sadly the days when you could use streetcars to get across the country are long can't even use the RTAs to get from Boston to Pittsfield.


"you can't even use the RTAs

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"you can't even use the RTAs to get from Boston to Pittsfield."

Who cares? What matters is that the intercity bus and rail systems aren't what they should be in New England.

Boston to Pittsfield, or Worcester to New York, or Boston to Montreal are no fun without a car. On these routes, buses are very infrequent. And trains are slow and even less frequent, if they even exist.

This is great news. I don't

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This is great news. I don't think it will ever need to become anything more than a seasonal service, and will probably never appeal to families bringing many people and tons of gear onto the Cape, but I think it's a great option for single travelers, couples, or anyone who knows they have a ride waiting for them once they arrive. I hate doing a house share when there's 5 cars involved. I'm always willing to be the one who buses it or trains it.

This also means that I'm seldom the designated driver :-). Yep, I'm a mooch, but I can cook and usually get breakfast duty.

WTF? Train to the cape =

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Train to the cape = Good

No train to the cape = Bad

If No train = No Good, Then Train = Good and if Good > Bad, then

Good Train > Bad