MBTA takes a run at overnight service

Bruce Mohl | Commonwealth Magazine

THE MBTA, which scrubbed its previous incarnation of late-night service in March 2016, is trying again, but this time using a cautious, incremental approach that will rely exclusively on buses and target employees working odd-hour shifts at the airport, hotels, restaurants, hospitals, and other businesses that work through the night.

The new service is the outgrowth of discussions that have been going on for nearly two years. The advocacy group TransitMatters pushed for overnight service initially, and was joined by the communities of Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Revere, and Chelsea.  A key pitch of the advocates was that the service should target low-income residents who want affordable transportation to get to and from jobs at off hours.

MBTA boosts late-hour bus service

Adam Vaccaro | Boston Globe

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority will run more buses during late-night hours, building on an increase in early-morning service that started in April.

The MBTA’s oversight board on Monday approved a $1.2 million plan to extend late-night hours on certain routes, while adding buses to other routes that are often crowded during nighttime runs. The agency described it as an “incremental” approach to overnight transit service for night owls and off-hour workers. The new service will start in September.

The new service grew from a suggestion by advocacy group Transit Matters in 2016 to run buses all night to replace the late-night, weekend subway service the T had shut down.

MBTA approves targeted early morning, late night service pilot

Andy Metzger | WCVB

Early-morning bus trips and more frequent late night trips are scheduled to begin in September under a $1.2 million pilot proposal that the MBTA Control Board approved on Monday.

The new service would primarily serve cities north of Boston, including Chelsea, Malden and Revere, and neighborhoods in the southern part of the city, including Dorchester and Mattapan, as well as East Boston.

The expanded service could transport people in the hospitality and medical fields, said MBTA General Manager Luis Ramirez. He said, "We really want to give them an option."

The MBTA’s Late-Night Bus Pilot Will Start in September

Spencer Buell | Boston Magazine

Late-night buses on the MBTA are a go.

The T’s oversight board voted on Monday to approve a $1.2 million pilot of a system of buses that will shuttle passengers after the rest of the system has shut down, which is intended primarily to give people who work late in the city an affordable way to get home. It will launch in September and add late-night stops to an area that stretches from Dorchester and Mattapan up into East Boston, Revere, Chelsea, and Malden.

The nonprofit advocacy group TransitMatters, which pitched the concept of a “NightBus” in 2016 and has rallied support for the idea, cheered the news on Monday. “Overnight bus transit in Greater Boston, open to all but designed primarily around the transit needs of the late night and early morning workers, needed to keep our city running; in short: NightBus will respond to the economic realities of a city and region that functions on a 24/7 basis,” the group said in a statement. “We look forward to continued collaboration to provide the transit service people need, want and deserve in a city and region that never stops working.”

MBTA dithering on late night service

Urban Liberty | Matt Robare

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, which excells at finding excuses to not do any transportation, showed that its well of creativity has not run dry yesterday when it comes to late night service at the Fiscal and Management Control Board. They were examining the Night Bus proposal put together by TransitMatters, Ari Ofsevit and Jim Aloisi, in which eight bus routes with 75 minute headways would provide overnight service to much of the region, for around $3-4 million a year.

Late-Night on the MBTA Is Dead. Can NightBus Resurrect It?

Spencer Buell | Boston Magazine

The NightBus. Could it be Boston’s next and best shot at 24-hour public transit?

Advocates with Transit Matters seem to think so. The idea for a network of T buses running a limited schedule overnight has been kicking around ever since the death of late night service in February, and supporters of the proposal pitched it once again to the MBTA’s fiscal and management control board Monday. According to the Globeit was at least marginally well received (there were concerns about uncertain costs and uncertain demand for the service).

MBTA survey aims to clarify demand for late night bus service

Fox 25 News

BOSTON - Should the MBTA run overnight bus service in Boston and its surrounding communities?

That’s a question the transit agency wants answered.

A new survey began Monday morning, asking residents in the area for input on whether the MBTA should provide overnight bus service.

The MBTA Wants to Know if You Want Late-Night Bus Service

Spencer Buell | Boston Magazine

As the T continues planning for a replacement for the late-night train service it axed this year, the agency is asking riders to weigh in. Would you like to see T buses traveling around Boston into the wee hours of the morning? Let them know via this survey.

The query is live on the T’s website now and will stay there until December 16, the agency announced Monday.

Survey to measure demand for regional overnight bus service

MBTA Press Release

BOSTON - The MBTA today began conducting a month-long survey designed to gather data on overnight travel needs for the public in Boston and surrounding communities.

The survey, available at was issued today in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. The same survey will soon also be available in Chinese, Vietnamese, Haitian Creole and Cape Verdean Creole. MBTA partners will also make the survey available on paper.

Hey MBTA, take the hint on overnight service

Dante Ramos | Boston Globe

For the MBTA, overnight service is a line item in a budget, and an optional one at that. But if you’re a restaurant server or a home health aide whose shift ends after the T shuts down around 12:30 a.m., not having a cheap way home is an immediate problem. Give the advocacy group TransitMatters credit for keeping this issue alive. 

Since the T nixed its most recent late-night experiment earlier this year, TransitMatters has been pushing a clever alternative that’s both cheaper and more ambitious: Instead of a couple of extra hours of rail and bus service, it’s proposing a pared down bus network that would run all night every night.

MBTA Leadership Eyes Collaboration With Boston On Night Bus

Michael Norton | State House News Service

With a board member frustrated about the lack of significant progress examining the potential for night bus service from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. in Metro Boston, MBTA leadership suggested more data and perhaps collaboration with City Hall on the proposal.

Advocates push T to restore late-night service

Jack Sullivan | Commonwealth

MBTA OFFICIALS CONTINUED to take a slow approach to rebooting late-night bus service over concerns about cost despite a detailed plan from advocates and pleas from state and local officials that such a service is a matter of equity for low-income earners rather than a convenience for millennial barhoppers.

Advocates urge MBTA to offer late-night bus service

Nicole Dungca | Boston Globe

A transit advocacy group is calling on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority to run eight overnight bus routes in the Boston area to compensate for the loss of late-night rail and bus service earlier this year.

Transit Matters, which lobbies for improved public transportation, is backing an estimated $3.5 million plan to run overnight buses every 75 minutes. The expanded service would cater to early- and late-shift workers in the hospitality and health care industries.