MBTA expands T hours
The MBTA announced last week a one-year pilot late night service operating on Saturdays and Sundays beginning this spring. Expanded hours will not run on Friday nights. According to the Boston Globe, the new service will run until 3:00 A.M. with the last train leaving the city at 2:30 a.m. and will include the all train lines, the Silver Line, and 15 bus routes: 1, 15, 22, 23, 28, 32, 39, 57, 66, 71, 73, 77, 111, 116, and 117. Train fares will remain the same for late night hours as other times: $2 for a subway and $1.50 for a bus.
The pilot late night service comes in response to concerns from college students and the technology sector in Boston over the lack of public transportation late at night.
The late night program became a focal point of the Boston mayoral race, in which Major-elect Martin J. Walsh promised to implement late night T service if elected. Debates raged over the course of the summer to find sources of funding for the service. According to The Boston Globe, proponents believed that expanded hours would help further establish Boston as a tech center while, opponents warned that the state could not afford to expand hours. The Boston Globe noted in an editorial published on Saturday in support of the changes that the current 1:00 a.m. end of service leaves late night restaurant workers with no way to get home.
Governor Deval Patrick has pledged $20 million to fund the one-year pilot. Funding for future service, however, remains uncertain. The state is hoping to raise $2 to 5 million from private companies to help fund the late night service, but has yet to secure any formal commitments.
The city has previously implemented light night service. The Night Owl bus service, which ran from 1:00 to 2:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday nights, operated from 2001 to 2005. The service was cancelled due to insufficient demand. According to The Boston Globe, the state is now hopeful that the 5,200 people entering the T at 1:00 a.m. will be sufficient to create a sustainable late night service. The previous service had only included bus service, while the new service will run subways, which run more frequently than the buses.
For MIT students, the Central and Kendall Red Line stops near the north and east sides of campus, respectively, are nearest dorms and Cambridge FSILGs. Expanded hours on the Green Line will likely benefit a number of FSILGs in and around Boston, from Phi Kappa Theta near the Copley Square stop on the east side of Boston, to Sigma Alpha Epsilon near the Blandford Square station on the western end of the city and Zeta Beta Tau in Brookline.