The young adult community of Boston rejoiced late Monday night when it was announced that late-night service is returning to the MBTA.
The Boston Globe reported that starting in 2014 the MBTA will run all subway trains and the 15 most popular bus routes until 3 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The one-year pilot program is said to begin in March or April and if it proves successful, it will be extended.
According to Governor Deval Patrick, the service will be financed with $20 million in state money in addition to corporate sponsorships. Although restaurants and bars close at 2 a.m. in Boston, T service stops at 1 a.m., which proves to be an inconvenience for many who seek a more affordable method of transportation.
In addition to workers in the technology sector who tend to work unconventional hours, college students who work off campus or those who seek to simply enjoy a night out in the city have also complained about the early shutdown of the MBTA service.
“The MBTA changes will be incredibly helpful for those people that live off campus. I have a friend who lives near Copley Square and she has spent tons of money on cabs in order to maintain her social life,” says Rose Ermer, A&S '15.
Many BC students complain that the restraint of the current system is that it forces them to seek other options that are much more expensive, time-consuming and, in some instances, less safe than the MBTA.
“This [new service] will make Boston life so much more accessible. Not only do we get to save money but we also don't have to spend endless hours waiting for a taxi that is probably never coming," said Tolu Olabintan Oladapo, A&S '16. "I'm from New York, so it's great that Boston is finally hopping aboard transportation-wise.”
Alejandra Rodriguez, A&S '14, similarly echoes, “I love getting dinner and drinks with my friends that go to other universities downtown. With the T shutting down so early, I am forced to take a cab back to BC alone.”
There is, however, a concern that this recent effort to bring late-night service to Beantown will face the fate of previous efforts which have failed due to low ridership. The MBTA’s last attempt at implementing such a service was launched in 2001 and did not fare so well. The service drew very few patrons and was eventually canceled in 2005 due to its high cost and low usage rates.
“The new policy will be way more convenient by leaps and bounds, and it's a great step in the right direction, considering it will likely curb the desire to drive home after a night of drinking by providing more options," said Conor Kelly, A&S '16.
"However, MBTA service will never be acceptable until serious reforms are made where the fare is collected every time, student prices are reasonable and the trains are on time. The new policy is great, but it seems trivial in the face of overall highly unsatisfactory service.”
This unsatisfactory service maybe the very reason that previous attempts to run trains and buses past 1 a.m. have failed. However, while there are concerns that such a project will only be temporary, many are hopeful of the possibilities that will emerge because of this new change, such as helping businesses like bars and restaurants to flourish.
Such a transformation will further liven up the Boston night scene, providing numerous opportunities for Bostonians hoping to enjoy some late-night fun on the weekends.