Chelsea official has idea for cutting T deficit and bringing back Night Owl service

As the T continues to drown in red ink, Chelsea City Councilor Matt Frank writes it's time to reconsider plans to let companies sponsor individual T stops - and to encourage companies and shopping districts to sponsor free-ride periods:

... Downtown Crossing, Central Square, Harvard Square, Galleria Mall, Newbury Street, even Fenway/Station Landing could all benefit from consumers making extra stops to patronize the local stores. ...

It could even work to bring back late-night bus service, he says:

... I do not see any reason why night owl buses would not be equipped with special ads just for the night owl service. The ads on the interiors of the bus could go from the normal ads to more adult themed ads for the duration of the night owl service (liquor and other things that are still in good taste but not 100 percent family friendly.) "Beer company X thanks you for making the wise choise and taking the MBTA" just one of the options. ...

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Comments

He thinking out of the box.

By on

He thinking out of the box. I like it.

Imagine a major city shutting down frequent public transportation service except during 9-5 plus? Ridiculous.

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BFD

By on

Does it really matter who did it first?

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I read the article and did

I read the article and did see that they mentioned Boston in passing on page two. I do recall it not being a success but the public spirit was certainly not behind it and I also believe the terms were a bit restrictive. The public has to be behind something before a company commits to a large transaction, no company wants to be known as the evil corporation that waltzed in and renamed a T station with public opposition in place. Also looking at the article I see it was just a few weeks ago, my blog came from a discussion I had with someone at an event in Boston earlier in the week, someone most likely read the article which would explain why it came up in conversation.

I'd like to also take a second to stipulate that my views on the blog and in this comment do not represent the views of Chelsea or any other entity I represent or work for. I do not have official powers in any capacity to enact or legislate any of the ideas I wrote about. I wrote it as a regular person but am honored that the purveyor of this blog remembered that I was an elected official in my city and took the time to affix the title to my name (I had not mentioned in the blog post or in my official "about me" section that I was a city councilor.)

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it does

Actually it does. Because you can be assured that if New York has already done it, Bostonians will reject any idea out-of-hand no matter how good or successful it is.

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Pshaw

By on

A bunch of city councilors (well, three, at least) are so entranced with the idea of Tavern on the Green, they want to replicate that on the Common.

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Just say NO to corporate sponsorship of stations

By on

a) It's supposed to be PUBLIC transportation, not CORPORATE transportation.
b) Unlike advertising in the media, where you can choose to shut off the TV/radio or not read the paper, you are forced to view the message whether you want to or not. IMO, we have here private industry's version of 1984 (it's no longer total government control we have to fear, it's now total control by the marketing executives that's the real threat).
c) Advertising revenue is NOT a consistently reliable stream of revenue, especially in a public transportation setting. If the company decides the ads aren't working, they won't be a repeat customer of the transit agency.
d) As I've noted in other posts, we as a society are already much too overwhelmed with advertising. It's time to start reversing this unfortunate trend.
e) The MBTA tried this idea several years ago - remember "Citizens Bank - State Street Station". The concept was deemed a failure by private interests and thus was not repeated.

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Not sure I agree with the

By on

Not sure I agree with the corporate sponsorship idea, but I appreciate a public official thinking outside the box about solutions.

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Another way to pay for Night Owl service

By on

Native Dubliner Mark O'Neil suggests charging a higher fare than for day/evening service, as is done in Dublin:

... The "Nightlink" (called "Drinklink", or the "Vomit comet") buses are more expensive than normal buses, though still a lot cheaper than a taxi. So why not just raise the fares? That would pay for the buses, surely, and (literally) drive more people to spend money in Boston at night.

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Higher fares for Night Owl

Amsterdam also charges a higher fare for its Nachtbussen; they also have a different pass system from the city's regular buses and trams.

Before the T gave up on the Night Owl, didn't they try raising the fare, or at least stop taking regular monthly passes?

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Yep. And they still couldn't

By on

Yep. And they still couldn't make the numbers work. It's not just a matter of hiring a few drivers, it's paying drivers serious overtime because their contracts are written under the assumption the T will not operate during those hours.

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off-peak modal split

By on

Look up the utility equation and it's use in determining transportation modal split. Typically one looks at the balance between trip duration and trip cost.
For example, as the MBTA raises the night owl fare, less riders will choose transit over, say, a taxi. As the T decreases the headway and travel time, more transit riders can be expected. One can understand why it is difficult for the T to compete with private vehicles and taxis at off peak hours.

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I'm usually

By Kristine on

I'm usually anti-corporate-sponsorship, but honestly, if this can legitimately help the T, bring it on. If the MBTA can make the T more usable and functional without raising fares too much, I can deal with this. The positive environmental impact of a better public transit system outweighs the negatives of a corporate sponsorship to me.

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A key word is "legitimately"

By on

Don't you already pay enough in taxes and fares to have a functional mass-transit system?

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