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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Late night MBTA service has been a success


On March 28, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) implemented extended late-night service, running most subway and bus lines running until until 1:00 A.M. on weeknights and as late as 2:30 A.M. on Fridays and Saturdays.

MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott says about 500,000 riders have used the service since its introduction this past spring, and described it as a “wonderful aspiration.”

Late-night service is scheduled to continue as a year long pilot. The decision as to whether-or-not it will be picked up and continued, is set for the spring of 2015. Until then, the decision hinges on accumulative late-night ridership, among other factors.

General Manager Scott said, “There are a lot of new students [in the city], by the thousands. We want to be able to acquaint them right of off the bat with the fact that can they can enjoy the service on Friday and Saturday evenings.”

“In order for them to be able to [ride], we need to step up our game to fully support having extended hours,” Scott added.

Service is extended on the Red, Orange, Blue and Green Lines in addition to 15 key bus routes. Individual station schedules for may vary, and riders can expect to pay the usual fare.

“Every single month is like an experiment, because we’ve never run a late night service like this,” said Scott. 

Between 2001 and 2005, a similar Night Owl extension of service was installed but differed in features and was more limited to extended bus routes. The Night Owl service was cancelled due to lack of ridership.

Of the current late night pilot service, Scott said, “There are others that are looking at different types of indicators; such as if businesses make the decision to stay open later, but the primary indicator for us [MBTA] is based on ridership.”

With regard to the late service leading to city development, Scott said, “It really comes down to the fundamentals of mobility and access.”

University of Massachusetts Boston Junior and Management major, Thary Lin, said that she doesn’t trust the train at night, and is worried about being on the train during late hours of night alone.

Lin said, “The service for me personally shouldn’t be kept around. I can understand how for some people who don’t have a car or who work the midnight shift, it should.”

When questioned how safety is upheld in the later hours, Scott said “Nothing at all major or serious has occurred since March.”

“We’ve had seven incidents in five months, and they were occasions where someone maybe had a little too much to drink and got sick.”
The Boston Red Sox, Dunkin’ Donuts, Boston Globe, Suffolk Construction, and Massachusetts Restaurant Association are all sponsors, contributing $1.5 million of the total cost, a total of around $16 million dollars.