Suffolk students want later T service

Boston Stay Up:

Boston is a world class city and it's a hub for culture, higher education and the arts; but unlike most world class cities, public transportation doesn't run all night. As students of Suffolk University, the MBTA is our main source of transportation and it keeps us from fully enjoying nightlife.



Free tagging: 


It's because of that

By on

It's because of that overnight work that rails never break at Central Square and shut down the Red Line at rush hour.

I think you mean

I think you "Major US cities", right? Sort of like being the tallest midget in the circus?

Speaking of subway service

By on

are you aware the London Underground shuts down overnight around the same time as the MBTA? And on weekends it starts service at something like 7AM! When I lived in Paris, the metro closed around the same time as the MBTA, 1AM-ish, and opened around the same time, 5AM-ish.

And as for the other bug-a-boo about Boston closing too early, it's actually pretty much the norm with a few rare exceptions, even in places like Los Angeles and S.F. [both 2AM].

NY State is very rare to have a 4AM closing time. And most subways and metros around the world, let alone the U.S., don't stay open 24/7

It cost $$$ to operate a system 24/7. It would be much chesper to have overnight shuttle buses around town.

Another European City

By on

Copenhagen has an extensive network of night buses that run from the end of general service at 12:30 a.m. until resumption of service at 5:00 a.m. Frequency is every 20 minutes Sunday (or night after Sunday to be pedantic about it) through Thursday and every 10 minutes Fridays and Saturdays. There is no night surcharge. The three Metro (subway) routes are automated and run 24 hours, albeit with somewhat reduced frequency and a night surcharge. Most routes start from City Hall Square, although there are also ring routes out in the periphery. Although the night bus network is not as extensive as in the daytime, the routes are still close enough together to make the walk home from the bus stop reasonably short for most people. The city/suburban electric S-trains shut down after midnight. but regional night buses pick up most of the slack.

"Compared to most major

By on

"Compared to most major cities the T runs fairly late."

No it doesn't. I don't know of any other subway system that shuts earlier than the T.

They should be able to do construction one night per week. That's what Philly does.

And the vast majority of large transit systems have buses that run much later than the T. Besides the obvious ones like New York, Chicago, and LA, there's DC, Philly, Miami, Houston, Seattle, Phoenix, Baltimore, Newark. Even Saratoga Springs has a transit route that runs until 4 AM.

The real reasons the T doesn't run later:
- The union contract which provides double pay after 2 AM.
- It would look bad if they ran service to certain areas but not others, but the demand isn't there across the whole system.

As I said a few months ago, I'd like to see the T solicit bids for private operators to offer late-night bus service. If a route gets a bidder at a subsidy the T could pay, then then that route runs.

Do cab

By on

companies lobby against later closing times? I think that it would definitely take a big chunk of change out of their pockets.

If the T working on

By on

If the T working on rails/trains during the off hours gives us the MBTA we have today, I'm terrified to see what it would look like with later service. Or even *gasp* dare I say, 24 hour service.

Regardless, the fact that it

By on

Regardless, the fact that it shuts down before last call is, to my knowledge, unique among major American cities and also ridiculous. The fact that there's a good reason why something doesn't work well does not change the fact that it doesn't work well.

What about weekends?

By on

Some of those systems stay open an extra 2-3 hours on Friday and Saturday nights. I don't think that would be a ridiculous expectation for the T.

Yup. If Los Angeles can have

By on

Yup. If Los Angeles can have subway service until 2:15 AM on weekends, it should be possible here.

Oh, that's the reason

They've been doing a lot of night work over the last 30-40 years, I guess, since the T has never run past 1am that I can recall.

The system was 24hrs up until

By on

The system was 24hrs up until the 1960s. Overnight service was limited to key routes and areas which had 24hr industrial shifts.

Here we go... 'world class

By on

Here we go... 'world class city' so I want this this and that! Unless your head is buried in the sand, you should be well aware that the T is in massive debt. There's no money to keep the T running late at night!

That's so cute

That they called Boston a "world class city". Did their admissions officer tell them that?

Yet there's money to build a

By on

Yet there's money to build a $90 million glass box at Government Center.

What if they just built an elevator, and used the rest of the money to run actual trains and buses?

There is a difference between

By on

There is a difference between Federal and State funding. Look it up. The Gov't Center T Station re-design is part of ADA compliance, and yeah, while they are digging up a station and re-doing platforms, might as well make it aesthetically pleasing. You should bitch more about under-funding, not allocation of funding.

Of course it's to do with ADA compliance

By on

but it's a terrible waste of funds, for one single station no less. Oh well, the contractors, engineers, union guys will get their $, the 'advocates' will get another notch in their resume.

The T actually

By on

operated at a profit last year. It's losses come from servicing debt it was forced to take on during the big dig

So... how are these

By on

So... how are these enterprising students suggesting the T pay for all-night service?

I don't know, but somehow the

By on

I don't know, but somehow the state manages to keep 93 and 128 and the Pike open all night, and I can't imagine the tolls coming in at 3 a.m. are enough to pay for the snow plow keeping the road clear.

Having additional lanes

By on

Having additional lanes helps, plus more routes to detour onto.

We really ought to add several additional lines, lengthen existing ones, and have all new subway, trolley, and train construction use quadruple (or at least triple) tracks (also permitting express services) and also rebuild existing tunnels and rights of way to follow suit. Very expensive, but it would help tremendously and correct a mistake that the original designers made long ago. We've got to do it sometime -- why not start now?

Roads are also slightly more

By on

Roads are also slightly more important as emergency access routes than the green line tunnel. Nobody's going to run an ambulance on the T.

About 6.6M people live in

By on

About 6.6M people live in Mass; about 10% ride the T. Either the 90% of the people not using the T stay at home all the time or more likely use the roads and want them plowed.

Of course

By on

the MBTA is basically forced to run service like buses on routes and to places very few use, for political purposes. The urban core of Boston, Cambridge, etc., however has legitimate pent up demand for more and better transit service, and the population to back it up.

The MBTA as it's set up [the actual system itself and organization] is antiquated for the 2013. It was conceived in another place and another time that has long since passed.

DC Gets it Right, and sets a good example for the T to follow

By on

The Metro stays open until 3 on Friday and Saturday nights, and closes around midnight the rest of the week. No one complains about this, because they can stay out on the weekends and not have to worry about drunk driving or the fatal cab battles that we have here.

Even though I grew up in New York City, I don't think the subway there is the best model for Boston. You have a metro area (MSA) with >4x the population, a much higher concentration of around-the-clock jobs, and many more people moving about, especially to/from the airports and rail terminals.

So why can't Boston have later subway service on the weekends? There really is no excuse. The T loves to cite the failure of the Night Owl buses, while not admitting that it engineered their failure. There was no publicity, no schedule, and no marked bus stops. I took it home once from Central to Davis while I was in college. It was a total shitshow.

DC Metro gets it wrong on weekends with too few trains

By on

The DC Metro runs trains at 15 to 20 minutes intervals on a Saturday night. They close stations at midnight on weekdays (midnight!?!) I far prefer subways that run until a reasonably late hour all week and that don't (usually, nothing is perfect) require 20 minute waits on a weekend.

The DC subway is cleaner and quieter and the cars even have cushy seats. All these things are commendable. But for basic service it is not better than Boston and in some ways worse.

I've had plenty of 20 minute

By on

I've had plenty of 20 minute waits on the T, and had to catch plenty of last trains at 12:15 AM.

And I bet DC's last trains aren't routinely 45 to 60 minutes late because the train waits for multiple supervisors to screw around closing each station. (I wonder why that happens here. Maybe it's the extra overtime...)

They aren't late

By on

All trains downtown wait for the last Green Line train from Heath Street, which leaves there at 12:45am. There is then a small amount of wait time so people from that train can make connections. And most buses still running that late wait for the last train to arrive at their respective terminals. This is not really advertised so it appears that they are late when the lateness is in fact a benefit for many people.

The last time I took the last

By on

The last time I took the last train (and I hope it really is the last time), we sat at Downtown Crossing for about 20 minutes. I thought it would be a quick trip after that, but we sat at Charles for another 15 minutes with the doors open, freezing our asses off. (No bus or train connections there -- it had to be the supervisors screwing around.) The 5 minute waits at Kendall and Central didn't seem so bad after that.

Guaranteed connections are a good thing. But so is getting home without wasting an extra 45 minutes. A properly-run system would have guaranteed connections that arrived on time.

I'm tired of hearing Boston

By on

I'm tired of hearing Boston referred to as a world class city. New York, Chicago, London, Paris are world class cities. Boston is not a world class city.

You are aware London

By on

You are aware London Underground and Paris Metro both shut down overnight, in fact they close around the same time as the MBTA? London Underground actually starts up later in the AM than the MBTA on weekends. NYC is the only true 24/7 system, but even it gets quite slow overnight. Chicago has limited service on a few train lines and bus lines late or overnight.

But no, who actually says Boston is in the same category as NYC, London,Paris? I've never met anyone from here who makes this claim. But it's still a hell of a lot better and 'world class' than the places the majority of college students come from. It certainly isn't a typical 'college town'.

Yes I am, I've lived in Paris

By on

Yes I am, I've lived in Paris and been to London many times. I specified subway/metro. And they have A FEW buses, certainly not all routes.

I said a few

By on

London has 700 routes [who knew?], assuming this link is accurate. Your link lists 53 night routes. London is a very big city.

Never-the-less, the underground does shut down around the same time as the MBTA, and certainly doesn't operate 24/7/365 like the MTA in NYC.

Why ever would you assume

By on

Why ever would you assume that Bostonians want students to be able to "fully enjoy" nightlife? Most of you are underage.

One of the students behind

By on

One of the students behind this is 20 years old. I don't think the school needs someone underage promoting later T service for partaking in "night life."

What about house parties?

By on

I know I'm starting to sound like the old curmudgeonly "When I was a kid" lady but when I was in college, we'd go to house parties and party like it was 1999 (it was 1986). Then we'd crash at the house and go home the next day. What's wrong with kids these days that sleeping on someone's living room floor is too good for them?

Interestingly enough, I do a

By on

Interestingly enough, I do a variation of the same thing. There are several MBTA bus routes that operate between 3:20AM and 5:00AM which, coincidentally, run near friend's places and many continue into downtown Boston. So rather than cutting the night short to catch last train/bus or paying for a taxi, we all just party to 4:00 and take one of these buses home. Also beats paying $10 for whiskey while a drunken bro stumbles into you at the bar. This is not an option for everyone, certainly, but perhaps a foundation to build upon.

What at least sets their plan apart is having 7-day service. More expensive? Yes, but it may certainly appeal to a broader ridership base than just partying 20-somethings. My advice to the Suffolk pair would be to find out where people are at and are going between midnight and 3:00AM and then pressure the T to create routes that better match that demand. After all, we surely don't want to see an empty bus going to Riverside at 2:30 again.

Look, the MBTA can barely

Look, the MBTA can barely keep itself running at its current hours of operation. The system needs a major overhaul, and I might also add, an expansion. As much as I think 24-hour transit is a great idea, I just don't think it's going to happen without these Suffolk students figuring out a way to fund it.

In before

"Nothing good ever happens after 10:00pm."

Really, it took this long? UHub, I am disappoint.

Night owl is the answer

By on

That's how it's done all over the world, including San Francisco and Montreal -- both cities with a lot in common with Boston. The T failed at it last time because they did it poorly.

Even one drunken driving death prevented makes it worthwhile.

Here's how you do it right:

  • Identify routes with potential ridership. They do not have to be the same as normal bus routes; most places stitch together routes from pieces of the normal bus/train routes in ways that make more sense at night. Be able to change if reality does not meet potential.
  • Operate with lower frequency but arrange timed transfer pulse points in central locations. At night the nature of transit in the city changes and it's time to take a page from agencies which serve lower demand areas. Frequency is expensive: to save money while still providing decent connections, you need timed transfers.
  • Publish a good, clear map. Make route numbers and signage comprehensible. Take advantage of the real-time tracking system. Disseminating information is critical.
  • Fare collection should use the normal Charlie system, even if it costs more. It's okay to contract out the services if that makes it work better, but it's vitally important that schedules and fare collection be coordinated system-wide (this should be true during the day too).

If Night Owl demand shows that there is still a need for the regular T to be open later in certain cases, then consider that in the future. In a lot of places, though, the existence of Night Owl-style buses actually lets the regular transit service shut down a bit earlier.

I'd be willing to pay more for a Night Owl bus

By on

I'd actually be willing to pay a bit more farewise for a Night Owl. Something like this is desperately needed, particularly for the Blue Line. If you are stranded after the T closes, there is simply no viable way to get to East Boston without a vehicle, unless you can walk on water. If a drunken Suffolk student is stranded in Kenmore Square or in Allston after partaking in "nightlife", they can walk back to their dorm room downtown if need be, but you can't walk to East Boston.

Also, I believe the last time

By on

Also, I believe the last time Boston tried this, there were no such things as smartphones/social media, which I think will change the WHOLE dynamic of under-advertising the late night service.

This is all about late night

By on

This is all about late night drinking , just walk to the local joint and behave yourselves. There are commuter rail lines that dont even run on weekends for lack of money. Stop it with the late night service already , there is not enough dough to run it.

For the students it may be

By on

For the students it may be all about drinking, but there are plenty of other reasons to have later service. What about the people who work at these bars? Even restaurant workers get shafted .. I used to work in the north end and even though the restaurant closed at 11, i would often just barely miss the last train at govt center at 1230/1 and have to either walk over 4 miles home or pay ~$30 for a cab. Security, hotel staff, nurses, valets, maintenance... There are thousands of workers in Boston who would use the train until 2 or 3 am.

The city should subsidize late night service. The t already operates at a loss anyway. Road tolls don't turn a profit either yet highways are open all night (the fact that ma has some of the worst roads and bridges in the country is a different story). If taxes were used to maintain a "world class" infrastructure then people wouldn't complain about paying them. Instead, people hand over almost 1/3 of their income with very few tangible benefits.

What about the Taxi lobby?

I'm surprised it took over 50 posts for someone to mention the Taxi lobby. I was always told that the reason the T stopped at 2am or so was that the Taxi unions have sufficient political clout to protect their late-night profits.

But it could be malarkey -- does anyone know for sure?