Late-night weekend T service starts March 28; is 24-hour service a possibility long term?

State House News Service reports the T will run subways, the Silver Line and 15 bus routes until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays in a one-year pilot.

WBUR talks to T General Manager Beverly Scott, who says she hopes the year-long pilot is the first step in a long-term journey towards 24-hour mass transit in the Boston area.



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      why would the need T open 24

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      why would the need T open 24 hours and past 2 or 3 am??? what clientele would need the T past 2 or 3???

      World-class, Schmorld-class

      Normally I'm a strong proponent of late-night T service, and I don't even live in Boston anymore, so I don't have a dog in this fight, but based on what I read on UH every day, it seems to me that the T should be working on improving service for the many thousands of people who attempt to ride the T during the day, rather than worrying about the dozens who might ride it late at night. I'm reminded of a story a friend tells of the first attempt at Night Owl bus service when he was returning from Dorchester to Somerville and was the only passenger on either bus he rode. It would have been cheaper for the MBTA to hire a cab for him.


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      Airport workers. Airport passengers.

      I'm sure there are people who

      I'm sure there are people who would benefit from all-night service, but that number is miniscule compared to the number of people who are fucked over daily due to the shitty service the MBTA already provides during its current hours of operation (and not even considering the number of people who choose to drive rather than use the MBTA during off-peak hours because they don't have extra time to spend waiting for buses, trains and trolleys that may or may not be operating on anything resembling a schedule).


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      You said, "Pretty sure late night bus service isn't going to the airport..."

      You are mistaken.

      Airport Night Owl service will indeed run on Friday & Saturday nights.

      Have you traveled around the

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      Have you traveled around the world outside of Boston and NYC? Barcelona is a pretty great city, but the subway stops running earlier than here. I am a big proponent of late night service and think it should be 24/7, but these uninformed rantings about the metrics of what it means to be world class are idiotic.

      Why it's the clarion cry

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      of booster jackwads and urban hicks with great expectations unmatched by attainable potentials.

      Virtually all cities with

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      Virtually all cities with subway systems have 24-hour bus service on core routes. Boston is a glaring exception.

      Just imagine future pension rolls!

      All the added staff the MBTA would need to run buses 24x7. Retirement after 20 years for the new drivers, and the children of Massachusetts (because the whole state pays for Boston's MBTA) are screwed big time 20+ years from now.

      Might want to re-check your facts about Barcelona

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      I am from Barcelona and it is indeed a "pretty great city" (an understatement in my opinion, but I am biased). However, your claim about Barcelona subway running times is inaccurate. The subway operates 5AM-12AM Mon-Thurs, 5AM-2AM on Friday, and 5AM Saturday through 12AM Sunday nonstop. Furthermore, and this is besides the point, the quality, coverage, and upkeep of Barcelona's system far exceeds that of Boston's. The MBTA should invest first in infrastructure and maintenance rather than further taxing the existing system by extending operating hours.

      The only trouble is however, that

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      Boston doesn't have nearly enough businesses, etc., that are open 24 hours to make 24-hour operation of the MBTA viable here in this city. New York has 24-hour subway service because they're a much, much bigger city, and there are many more things open 24 hours a day in NYC than there are here in Boston.

      What about San Francisco?

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      What about San Francisco? Philly? Phoenix? Houston? Baltimore? They all have bus service that runs much later than Boston's.

      Later bar closing times help

      If people want to sustain a later MBTA, bars, nightclubs, and restaurants also need to stay open later. A better plan is to first let them stay open later, then increase MBTA hours when late night patronage is sufficient.

      Um, Right

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      Hospitals and university research labs are a miniscule part of our local economy.

      Boston doesn't have nearly

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      Boston doesn't have nearly enough businesses open 24 hours a day in part because the MBTA doesn't operate 24/7.

      See how it works?

      The predecessors of the MBTA

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      The predecessors of the MBTA ran 24 hour service until the early 1960s. Of course back then the city many more 24 hour industries running 3 shifts of production.

      I take it you don't work in a hospital

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      Or other 24-hour, 3-shift business.

      Your workplace magically cleans itself, eh? Your kids' school must do so as well.

      Ever have to get to the airport before 5am? How about getting in after midnight and fighting for a cab?

      Oh, yeah - the airport cleans itself, too. And opens itself up for business at 4am so people with 6am flights can check in.

      If I had to get to the

      If I had to get to the airport before 5am I would never take the T in a million years unless I lived on the Blue Line. That time of night, it's a quick cab or limo ride from anywhere in the T's operating radius vs. God Only Knows how long waiting for a bus or a transfer. If you were coming in on the Red Line, you'd have to allow an extra 60-90 minutes minimum for delays and general uncertainty.


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      Or $2 from downtown.

      Your choice.

      My time is worth more than

      My time is worth more than $14/hr, so I'd probably go with the cab ride. Given the fact that there hasn't been all-night T service to the airport in my lifetime, I have to think that the number of people who are willing to leave two hours early in the middle of the night and have no other way of getting to the airport is probably pretty small.

      I would love it if I was able

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      I would love it if I was able to take the T to the airport for my early flights, and my late return flights.

      Mine is too

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      That's why I don't want to wait two hours in a cab line at Logan Armpit when I could just take a Silver Line within walking distance of home.

      That's nice if you live on

      That's nice if you live on the Silver Line route, but for everyone else in the state, waiting for the T and making connections is almost certainly going to take longer than driving, even when they're aren't delays.

      Quick note on early morning workers

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      The T runs a bunch of early morning trips (approximately around 4 a.m.) which piece together existing bus routes and serve early workers. For example, the early-32 bus turns into the early-39 bus which then extends all the way to Haymarket. Another bus goes from Haymarket to the Airport. There is also a bus which goes through Dorchester, Dudley, Andrew, and onwards to the Airport, if I recall correctly.

      They don't promote these routes at all, so most people probably don't know about them. Also, these kinds of routes don't really help late shift workers returning from restaurants and bars to their homes.

      I think that the T ought to consider expanding and distributing information about these early morning services a bit better, in order to help folks on the early morning shift, and for those who work late so that the rest of us can be lucky enough to enjoy a night out.

      They probably drive cars,

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      They probably drive cars, because in real life poor people own (crappy) cars and rich people own (fancy) bikes.

      Get your bike out at 4am

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      And tell me who you see on bikes.

      Hint: they are riding Schwinn Rangers and Huffys

      trying to stereotype cyclists is hard

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      I've heard, just within the past couple weeks, that cyclists consist entirely of:

      trust-fund hipsters, poor students who can't afford cars, homeless people, dentists(??), crunchy hippies, investment bankers, overpaid startup tech workers, anarcho punk bike messenger wannabes who run red lights, yoga moms, vegans, and lesbians.... all used to varying degrees to illustrate a point about how they are somehow "other" than whatever the hell mainstream is.

      as for me - I ride a low-end bike shop "hybrid" that I bought new for $300 - (I've probably spent a total of $500 in repairs and parts over the past decade) - I have a fairly middle-class job and am married with a kid. I own two cars which I pay excise taxes on (both are sensible family cars, neither of them are a subaru or a hybrid/electric), I own a house, I enjoy grilling and eating red meat, and I'm a big local sports fan. I ride my bike for many reasons - I have access to off-street bike paths and bike lanes for all of my commute, it's faster than driving or taking the T, I need the exercise because I wouldn't have time otherwise, and it saves me some money because I'd have to pay for parking or a T-pass - and, most of all, it's fun and gets me outside. I know there are many other people out there who are like me (because some of them live in my neighborhood) - if you saw me in person you would never guess I ride a bike almost everywhere - you'd probably even think I look like someone who votes republican (which I have a few times).

      point is - we're all just people trying to get someplace.

      In theory, subways and buses

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      In theory, subways and buses should be able to operate very quickly and reliably during late night hours.

      And it would be even better If they made it easier to get the schedule, and timed connections properly. (Not like the current situation, where you have to reverse-engineer the subway schedule from Google Maps to find out that the Red Line has a scheduled 14-minute gap after midnight, and Red and Orange trains arrive at DTX at the same time so people from both trains miss their connections as they run through the connecting passage.)

      Or other 24-hour, 3-shift

      Or other 24-hour, 3-shift business.

      Your workplace magically cleans itself, eh? Your kids' school must do so as well.

      Ever have to get to the airport before 5am? How about getting in after midnight and fighting for a cab?

      Oh, yeah - the airport cleans itself, too. And opens itself up for business at 4am so people with 6am flights can check in.

      All these jobs are getting done now, somehow.

      But certainly many of these

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      But certainly many of these worker's commutes could be better served by late night service. Not to mention decreasing dependency on cars in the greater boston area.


      That seems like a stretch. If doubling or tripling their commute time in each direction counts as "better served", then I would agree with you. But given that all these people are getting to work somehow now, I have to wonder how many people would prefer to have a longer commute that requires waiting in the middle of the night at some deserted T station.

      And again, yes, I realize that for some people, it would be an improvement, but given the T's utter inability to run reliable service during daylight hours, this doesn't seem like a particularly wise use of resources.


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      So you admit that you are making shit up, as you apparently have never had a commute late night.

      Also, must be nice to be paid a wage that supports car driving AND an employer that provides parking.

      I never said I had a late

      I never said I had a late-night commute, and I never said I had an employer who provided parking. I said that any time I commuted by T, it took much longer than it would take to drive the equivalent distance if there were no traffic.

      And regardless of my employment history, the point is that (a) anyone working a late-night job has figured out how to get to work already, and (b) the T should worry about providing reliable service during the day (which they're completely incapable of doing) before they start expanding their service hours.

      I've worked many late night shifts.....

      I see exactly where scratchie is coming from.

      But it really isn't the overnight worker who would benefit from all night transportation (those who work from midnight to 7am), but those who end work after 2am that are effected.

      Going to work at midnight in Boston is actually the best time to have a car for a commute. Except for weekend club and bar parking parking, there are more places to park at midnight than there are during the day. Plus the meters are free. And as scratchie mentioned, your commuting time can be cut by 50% or more sometimes (Dover or Framingham to downtown crossing can take you 50 to 70 minutes if you leave at 7am, you can do it in 25 Minutes if you leave at 11pm) I guess it depends on where you work too though. Hospital parking lots are often free for workers at night, but durning the day hospital workers have to pay big money to park. Driving a car in is going to save you possibly 4-10hours a week in commute time if the location and price is right.

      As for late night food options, that effects the late night worker more.

      You ride a motorcycle in a snowstorm

      Let us know how that works out for you.

      Also, easier parking in Boston. Nope. Boston doesn't get motorcycle parking. At all. Either they ticket you for parking in a car space, or ticket you for not parking in a car space.

      There are a few motorcycle parking spots

      I walked past some near Post Office Square and that park over a garage. I was shocked. In a snowstorm I'll opt for a cab since its not a daily event. Its kind of like not needing 4 wheel drive 365 days a year.

      Oh, you mean "the cop spots"

      Those are usually hogged by cops who will ticket anybody else who tries to use them.

      Considering how compact the central city is, it isn't nearly enough.

      One thing I noticed about Paris is that they had a lot of "two wheel" parking areas - bikes, motorcycles, and scooters. Ditto for Barcelona. But those cities rarely get the kind of weather that prohibits their use.

      The highest priority is to

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      The highest priority is to get people around at the time that most of them need to get around. That's not overnight. People are getting to their 2nd and 3rd shift jobs now without public transportation. There's no rush hour at midnight. Ideally, yes, I'd like everyone to be able to use public transportation but the best use of our severely limited resources is dealing with the problems at 8 AM and 5 PM, not 3 AM.


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      There's no rush hour at midnight. Ideally, yes, I'd like everyone to be able to use public transportation but the best use of our severely limited resources is dealing with the problems at 8 AM and 5 PM, not 3 AM.

      That makes sense if your only view of public transportation is to be some kind of congestion relief valve for highways, or as a convenient job shuttle service for wealthy 9-5ers from parking lot to CBD. That's a pretty narrow view, IMO.

      Buying a car just so that you can get to/from your late night shift is quite a financial burden. In many cases, it could be many hours of work each month just to cover the cost of the car itself. That seems counterproductive to me. Part of the role of public transit is to create accessibility to opportunity in the region. Right now, if that opportunity is late at night, and if it doesn't fall within the purview of the limited early morning buses that currently exist, then for people unable to afford a car, that opportunity may as well not exist.

      My view of public

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      My view of public transportation is like everything else - do the most good. When the T can reliably move hundreds of thousands during the day then let's start worrying about moving tens of thousands at night. And thanks for making it a class issue. I know that all the wealthy white people waiting for the bus in my neighborhood appreciate your derision.

      Other name is Mass Transit

      Public transportation is also called mass transit - it works well for moving many people, less well for niche needs, like low density areas, low demand areas, and low demand TIMES. In those niche cases, mass transit is inefficient and far more expensive than other means. Its as ridiculous as making all the above ground rail in Kansas into subway to recapture the land above ground to grow more corn and soybeans.

      If a car is too expensive, get a motorcycle or moped.

      Again, please get a clue

      Motorcycles require space to park. That isn't cheap. It isn't free.

      Motorcycles require insurance and have to be registered and inspected yearly.

      Motorcycles don't work in bad weather.

      Note how, when Boston first grew into a big city, public transporation was both extensive AND 24/7 or nearly so? Boston was not built for cars or motorcycles. It was built out around public transit. We laugh at your rantings, not because we don't think your ideas will work but because WE KNOW THEY WON'T WORK. They were tried. They failed. The only failure for public transit was accepting the auto company bribes to rip it out rather than rebuild it after WWII neglect in places which were built around it.

      A couple of people like

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      People who work at hospitals, at the airport, at late-night establishments. They don't count, I guess. (Actually, the airport is a big deal.)

      Hospital staff and other

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      Hospital staff and other professions that require night shifts may be the clientele for a 24 hour T service.

      Hospital is a great example

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      It is not unusual for a hospital to ask people to hold over for part of a 3rd shift with dismissals between 2 am and 5 am when most patients will be asleep.

      Until her retirement my wife worked in a hospital till 11:30 pm and struggled to make connections home each night before the MBTA went off line. On more than one occasion she was delayed at work and was flirting with the very last subway train and very last bus in very lonely stations. she had to keep an emergency fund in her purse in case she was forced to get a taxi, assuming one would even pick her up. Has anyone tried to phone for a cab to be picked up at work or home of late? Its almost impossible, especially away from the core of the city or airport late at night.

      Overnight service, even abbreviated, would offer some hope.

      The other side of this coin is that a lot of employers are not transit savvy, nor willing to work with employees that travel by transit. This late night service may actually improve job stability for some. not a lot - just some.

      People who need to be at work at 5 am

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      If you provide services for the early morning commuters, you need to be at work before the commuters are out. So if you work at a convenience store or coffee shop near a T stop, or you work at a gym that caters to the pre-work crowd (note that even the YMCAs in Boston are open at 5 am) you will need to be at work at 4:45 to be ready for customers at 5. Which means you'll need to leave your house at 4 or 4:15.

      I worked at a place that had early morning hours and offered absolutely no parking that worked with the shift terms (people couldn't leave to feed the meters, tickets or garage parking cost more than their shift pay, etc.) Finding a steady stream of staff reliable enough to be trusted to open who also live walking/biking distance from work isn't easy, especially in the winter when weather conditions make walking or biking treacherous. One time, one employee ended up leaving his home at 3:30 am to walk the three miles in so he could open; another time, one employee who lived at the end of a T line had to sleep there 5 nights in a row for two weeks to get the place open on time.

      So yeah, having the T opened at 3-4 am would be helpful.

      This is all well and good if

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      This is all well and good if you were running a model train setup of the MBTA in your cellar , and then you could still have the trolleys running from Arborway and get off at Triple D's , but the T can't keep their rolling stock running now ,how are they going to keep it running after hours as we'll ? Where is the money tree for all this ?


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      kvn wrote:

      Where is the money tree for all this ?

      I don't know but here's some more info from the WBUR story:

      The MBTA does not plan to break even on the pilot program.

      “If we were probably somewhere at the end of the day around 30 percent in terms of cost recovery, that would be doing pretty doggone well,” T General Manager Beverly Scott said Wednesday.

      Hence the term.....PILOT

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      Hence the term.....PILOT PROGRAM.

      Now go out and ride the T during these extended hours, and go to those bars in the seaport that are piloting extended hours, so that these pilot programs become the norm.

      I Most Certainly Intend To Ride The Ⓣ, The First Night It Starts

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      ... and you can be sure I'll add some comments about the experience, here on Universal Hub.

      If one of the bars has a decent dance party after 2:00 I might try that too, however that would make it too late to take the Ⓣ, since the last (extended hour) train will depart at 2:30.

      Vicious Circle

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      The T is really caught in a bind. Stand at Airport Station (for a glaring example) for a few hours, any time you choose, and watch people piggyback on paying riders, or sneak in the side "exit" door (on the inbound side). The gates buzz non-stop, and there's not a single T employee around to stop the thieves. I'm sure Airport isn't the worst case, either, although, who knows, maybe it is. In any case, how are they to make any money when they don't have enough employees to insure that people are even paying to get on the train. Without the money to invest in their service, how is it to improve? Extend that scenario to a 24/7 time frame. If there aren't enough T people around at 8:00am, on a Monday, how many will be around at 3:00am on a Thursday or Saturday? When you can blatantly stroll into a station for free, what is your behavior going to be like once you're in?

      In order to make the T a viable source of transportation, they need to add personnel on all levels, at the gate, on the train, police, etc. As it is right now, adding more hours is a recipe for disaster that will turn the T into a free for all crime ridden zoo.

      Your vicious circle of stupidity

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      The gates buzz non-stop, and there's not a single T employee around to stop the thieves.

      Oh, the horror! Someone might have stolen $2!!! We must drop everything, throw all our resources at this "problem"!

      Or maybe the buzzer went off because the fare gates are broken pieces of shit that buzz at you even when you have a monthly pass (in my experience).

      But nevermind that! No pain is too great, no sacrifice too large, to stop people from "possibly stealing $2" from the T. Yes, maybe if we spend enough money on fare enforcement, we can recover 30% of the money that may or may not have been lost.

      Let's make sure to search everyone's bags and hassle them too. Stop and frisk! Can't let those riders actually ride without being harassed!

      Hell! Somebody tell MassPort! Riders have been "fare evading" the free Silver Line from the Airport!

      In order to make the T a viable source of transportation, they need to add personnel on all levels, at the gate, on the train, police, etc.

      That costs money. Labor is the most expensive cost. I thought you wanted to save money?

      It's stupid to spend more money on fare enforcement personnel than you're going to recover in actual fares.

      Oh wait, you don't actually care about the money. I see. Maybe you are interested in bilking more taxpayer dollars for union jobs? Or maybe you are just an asshole.

      As it is right now, adding more hours is a recipe for disaster that will turn the T into a free for all crime ridden zoo.

      Oh, you mean, the public is a bunch of crazy lunatics who can't handle themselves without constant supervision? No wonder the streets of Boston are flowing with blood at all hours. It's like Mad Max out there...

      Or not. It's not the dirty, shitty 1970s anymore. Sure, there's problems, but nothing that can't be handled. You might want to check a calendar some day. The era of drug-fueled, lead-poisoned, crime wave-causing Boomers is over.

      Extended Weekend Service Good - 24/7 not yet a good idea.

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      I think that this is a good thing.

      That said, I am reluctant to push for 24/7 service until we figure out how we are going to bring the system into a good state of repair. Unless we are going to close down whole lines or long sections of lines (this approach seems to have worked well for us on some big road projects - e.g., Fast14, Callahan Tunnel) to make necessary repairs to improve reliability, we are going to need to preserve some time (e.g. between 1 and 5 am 5 nights a week) to do the necessary work.

      Philly manages to get by

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      Philly manages to get by closing their trolley tunnel just one night a week for maintenance.

      It seems many of you exist in

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      It seems many of you exist in a universe without buses.

      Do we close our roads every night for maintenance?

      I agree

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      And the MBTA needs to work on making the system accessible and safe for people with disabilities during existing service.

      Deaf passengers should not be kidnapped because the train changes it's mind and goes express or decides to make a u-turn instead of going to the destination posted on the side of the car.

      People that use wheelchairs should not have to wait 45 minutes for an attendant to get a bridge plate. They shouldn't be blocked by snowbanks or slipping and falling out of their chair because the outdoor stations aren't maintained.

      Bit of chicken & egg problem

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      If expanding the service shows a huge uptick in usage, then it becomes a more convincing argument that more money needs to be spent by the state to support all of these users.

      It's also a self-fulfilling prophecy that the State House has set us up in now. If they underfund the MBTA to the point that service degrades, so people don't use it...well, they have more justification for underfunding it again because look how few people use it.

      So when do we find out

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      the "select" bus routes are that will be running as part of the pilot program? The only thing I have seen regarding this has been some vague references to "15 busiest bus routes." While this sounds appropriate, demographics need to be considered.

      Of the top 15 bus routes, two are Silver Line routes (SL1 and SL5). The SL5 will probably get ridership but not the SL1. Nearly a third of the routes are based in Roxbury and Dorchester. Many of these routes are skewed by the amount of schoolchildren that use these lines. Would demand be there at 2am?

      One reason I ask is purely selfish, as I live in South Boston and would use the #9 bus if it will be one of the "select" routes. It did have Night Owl service back in the day, although I lived in Cambridge at the time and did use the overcrowded (!) Red Line Night Owl bus. The problem with the #9 is that it does not technically fall in the Top 15.

      The MBTA Blue Book (last published in 2010) shows that the last rider count on the #9 was performed in Spring of 2006 for weekdays and Winter 2008 on Saturdays (2004 on Sundays)! Southie has grown tremendously since then and many who have moved there forego a car and rely on the T. I would not be surprised if 1,000 more people take the #9 daily now as opposed to 8 years ago.

      Bus service to Southie is generally bad to begin with. The #9 is almost always standing room only between 5:30 am and 10 pm. I know, because I take the 5:35 am bus twice a week to work, and take a 1:30 pm and 10 pm bus on other days. One night last week, I waited 38 minutes on Herald Street as of the 2(!) buses on the route, one was running on-time and the other was 15 minutes late. I've seen these two buses run less than 5 minutes apart before, with a 50-minute gap afterwards. One of my friends watched 5 (!) full buses drive by D St. a couple of weeks ago during rush hour before 45 minutes later one stopped.

      Hopefully the T will announce the routes shortly (or at least put something on their website), and late night service (yes, it's only a couple of hours two nights a week -- but it's a start) will help.

      OK, I'll give you the SL1

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      as the airport is important, and workers and travelers alike will benefit. But as the T likes to consider the Silver Line a "rapid transit" service, I wonder if it would even label it a "bus" for this program, or as a "subway" line that run late anyway.

      If this is the actual list

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      (which is not published on the MBTA web site) does this mean that South Boston will be completely ignored? Is the Silver Line involved? (see comments above). The #9 starts in Copley Square and connects with the Green, close to the Orange, Silver and Red Lines, as well as serving the busy Broadway corridor.

      32 and not 34?

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      So no service down one of the busiest (at least during the day) bus corridors out of Forest Hills?

      they neglect the total ridership of the buses

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      that run between rozzie square and forest hills - instead focusing on ridership of single bus lines. I've raised this issue with the T a couple times and they've never responded. Maybe you can do better.

      here are the numbers from 2010:

      the 32 bus sees 7000 boardings a day, which puts it at #9 - the 34 only sees 3,500 - but if you add up the 34E and the 34 and the 40 (which more or less share the exact same route), you get around 8,200 (which would place that combined line in the top 10), and if you start adding up other lines that run through the square:

      let's start with the 35, 36, and 37 (which share the same route for a few miles - the 35 actually joins up with the 34 and 34E after making a detour through west rox) - that's 2,200, 3,000, 1,400 = 6,600 - another candidate for late night service.

      then you have the 30 and the 51 - both around 2000. that's another 4,000. all added together, you have around 18,800 riders on lines that pass through the square on a daily basis - I assume only a small fraction of these riders never actually pass through the square - but I'm sure the T has boarding statistics at forest hills for each of these lines - and all of those riders pass through rozzie square.

      as an aside - this is one reason why rozzie square needs an orange line stop.

      Subway, SL, key buses

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      The new late-night service will begin on March 28. The one-year pilot program will run all subway lines, the Silver Line and 15 of the T’s busiest bus routes until 3 a.m. on weekends.

      And the list of buses is identical to the list of "key bus routes" which were designated a number of years ago by the T as being special. I don't know the reasons why those 15 were chosen, and not others, but that's how it is. Yes, I know it misses out on some pretty important bus trunk corridors, like Washington Street towards Roslindale, as Adam points out.

      South Boston is not served by any key bus routes (although the 9 and the 7 are pretty important). My understanding, though, is that the residents of South Boston hate buses and anything that might possibly take away a few parking spaces.

      I also seem to recall that the old Night Owl buses of 2001 originally had a route 9 but that was abandoned very early in the program. Maybe this time it will be different and they will add route 9 due to popular demand.

      The key bus routes were

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      The key bus routes were simply the 15 lines with highest ridership and most frequent service.

      Eh, not quite

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      For example, the 9, 70, and 86 non-key routes are currently listed as having more ridership than the 71, 73 key bus routes. On the other hand, that may be due to changes in ridership in recent years. And the 71, 73 are "special" already by virtue of being trolleybuses (under normal circumstances).

      the 34, 34E, and 40 all share

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      the 34, 34E, and 40 all share the same route - all combined it would be ranked the 8th busiest. not to mention there are 6 other bus lines that run through rozzie square...


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      The old Route 09N was a laughable failure. A 2003 count showed only an average of 5 pax. After ten years of intense development (perhaps too intense, but that's a debate for another time) and a steady stream of yuppies marching across the Broadway Bridge, potential ridership could be enough to warrant at least 30-minute late night headways. If demand grows, you could even whittle it down to every 20 minutes.

      Picking the Key Routes was easy and seemed logical. "Those routes are wicked busy during the rush hours! So why not late at night, too?" Except now large areas (teeming with potential ridership, no less) have been left out. Live on Cedar Street in Somerville? Guess you'll have to snag a taxi from Davis or Sullivan. Making your way home to K Street and East Sixth? Better slip out of those heels and into your running shoes!

      Hopefully, the ridership data and trends will speak for themselves in the end. Ideally, the network could be tweaked to better serve the area as a whole.

      Cedar Street in Somerville

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      They'll be fine once the Green Line extension is finished.

      Well....more probably, their grandchildren will be fine once the Green Line extension is finished.

      One Reason the #9 and Others Failed

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      is because of the way the Night Owl was set up. All of the subway line buses originated in Govt. Center. Very convenient if you were actually in the Faneuil Hall area and needed to catch the bus home, but pretty useless otherwise. I know people who would be waiting for a Green Line bus in Copley Square to get to Govt. Center to connect to another line who were routinely passed up by the buses, which refused to stop unless someone was getting off the bus there. The other issue was there were no bus apps back then. There was no way of knowing when a bus would arrive -- if ever. Many people connect to the #9 from the subway -- most notably at Copley Square (the start of the route) and at Broadway (Red Line). I think the new system as planned would work quite well.

      Global Business is 24 hours

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      Many of the companies that are expanding their workforce in Boston have global coverage. That means shift work. That means people needing to arrive or leave at all hours.

      I know at least three companies who would much rather expand their operations in Boston, but stay in NYC because their people can get around.

      which bus routes?

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      I can't find an actual press release or any details...just curious--did the T list what bus routes will be involved?

      In addition to the Silver

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      In addition to the Silver Line, the 1, 15, 22, 23, 28, 32, 39, 57, 66, 71, 73, 77, 111, 116 and 117.

      so just have our wives take

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      so just have our wives take the redline home alone after getting off work at the hospital at 3am. good idea.

      24-hour service is a great

      24-hour service is a great idea! All we need is some new trains, new tracks and perhaps some new employees.

      In the meanwhile, instead of working with all haste to bring the equipment up to something that approaches reliability, we are expanding the Green Line to medfuh and the commuter rail to New Beige. I am generally in favor or expanded public transportation, but it's clearly wrongheaded to spend transportation money for projects until the existing crumbling system is not repaired.


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      Blah blah blah If I ran the world blah blah I'm ignoring people who were supposed to get service years ago because ME! blah blah blah.

      Talk to the car drivers

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      They wanted to drive downtown and through town more and more. The highway had to be replaced and expanded. The only way that's allowed is to mitigate the extra cars by expanding things like public transportation offerings. It was supposed to be part of the cost of upgrading the highway, however the State never wanted to actually do that work to begin with. So, the first chance it got, it dropped the problem on the MBTA's doorstep and ran off calling the Big Dig a victory.

      The projects you are talking about are due to the Big Dig highway improvements, not because someone at the MBTA is a moron at placing expansion priorities above maintenance.

      Speaking of stupidity.

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      Regarding to "your" response to "Vicious Circle". So, in your (obviously correct) opinion, you think the T should just "flip the switch" and start running 24/7 without extra personnel? That's basically what I'm saying. The T has some huge problems now, crime, people jumping the gates, etc. Oh, and that pesky thing - that they never make any money. If this were retail, would you be so sarcastic (and not so bright) to suggest that if shoplifting were happening, it would be no big deal if the items being stolen were only a couple of bucks? I'm not saying give up on the idea, I'm saying make it run well, which, (as others have pointed out) the T doesn't do a very good job of even with their "limited" current hours. But, hey, you're not worried about don't need the T when you've got a high horse!

      No, they should not, yet

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      Obviously they can't just start running 24/7 as is. The tracks are not designed for it, right now. Buses, like in Philly, would probably be better off anyway for the late, late night stuff. What we don't need is a bunch of extra station attendants standing around picking their noses on the taxpayer dime, as you seem to want.

      The biggest problems are deferred maintenance and not enough service. Not crime, as it ain't the dirty 1970s anymore, and not fare evasion. I jumped on your obsession over fare evasion, cause you ought to know that trying to wipe out evasion is impossibly expensive. It's not worthwhile to spend more money on chasing fare evaders than you get back from them.

      If I was running a shop, and my problem was someone lifting a two dollar item every so often, and I had to hire a $100 per hour employee to catch them, then yeah you bet I would just let it go. If I was spending $800 a day to catch a few punk kids who steal candy, I'd soon be out of business.

      So Then, Remove The Fare Gates And Make It Free To Ride The Ⓣ

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      It's an option worth considering; it would completely eliminate the huge cost of fare collection, and it would likely boost ridership. Otherwise, why should all the honest passengers pay when scofflaws can easily ride for free?

      When fare jumpers are caught by the Ⓣ Police, they're frequently wanted for other crimes, so tightly controlling the entry system can potentially make the overall system safer. But when the fare gates are broken and/or left wide open with no control, it defeats the purpose of having them there in the first place.

      That's the other extrme

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      I think the T gets enough back that it is worhtwhile to put some effort into getting fares. They just should not go to the extreme of spending more money on fare collection than they get in return. Most people, like our friend above, don't think about the costs of enforcement, they just see some guy go around the fare gates, and they get upset that shit happens, and they whine about it.

      The fare gates are left wide open on new years eve, the system runs late, and it seems to work out well. Much better to have people on the T than on the road, drunk.

      HubWay is the answer!

      Shouldn't Hubway be used by the small number of people needing personal transportation during off hours, instead of MASS transport? Put HubWay stations in locations you think need to have extended hours. Problem solved. Oh, and especially when Hubway adds mopeds to stations to legally serve people with disabilities.

      Keep Digging

      Most folks already think you are a "crank from Arlington".

      Just keep cranking up the inane clueless babble.

      Hubway shuts down for similar reasons that motorcycles - and mopeds - can't run well in the winter.

      But keep deluding yourself that expensive spacehogging individual solutions are the only ones in an old city. We will keep laughing at you.

      So empty 4mpg buses are the answer?

      Bus and train transportation are inefficient when lightly loaded. The buses get about 4 MPG, while cars are mostly 20-35 mpg, and fuel injected Yamaha mopeds are well over 100 mpg. That doesn't even consider the cost of the drivers. Subway trains are not so light and efficient either when empty. There is a reason why the MBTA is the biggest electricity user in the whole state. Yeah, I'm sarcastic, but at least not a delusional dreamer out of touch with reality. Late night service won't make sense until local cities allow places to stay open late. Get local colleges to agree to make every student buy an annual T pass. Then, after a few years for people to get into the habit of staying out late, there might be enough ridership. Increase ridership again by lowering the drinking age back to 18. Until all the other components for success are getting into place, take that $20 M that late service would cost and put it into maintenance so many thousands of people get more reliable service between 7 AM and 7 PM. Walsh is just looking for headlines during his mayoral honeymoon period - late night service is for him not the gullible public.

      I just noticed...

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      That in the new program on the extended hours, if your train breaks down, and you miss your final bus and you're not on one of the key routes on those nights, you're screwed. That's right, they are NOT holding ANY buses at those times on what is technically early Saturday and Sunday mornings (but is considered Friday and Saturday by MBTA scheduling). So if you are not on a key route or right off the subway, be prepared to take a cab anyway. Just that you won't have to take a cab as far. So in a way that is kind of a victory. Note that they ARE holding the buses at the normal times on non-extended mornings, and the key routes will have their final buses held as well on the extended mornings.

      At least it's a step in the right direction, although I do see a valid point in wanting to fix the infrastructure and vehicles, but this extra time will mean extra revenue (not much, but every little bit counts). At least it's not that stupid bus thing where you couldn't even use your monthly passes. I think THAT was what killed it, in fact.