Governor Deval Patrick announced today that the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) will launch late-night bus, subway and light rail service beginning next spring.
"A vibrant economy demands a public transit system that caters to the residents, students and tourists it serves," said Governor Patrick. "Extending service on weekend evenings will allow the public to enjoy the many attractions and restaurants the region has to offer and give workers a more cost-effective option for getting home late at night."
The one-year pilot program is in response to feedback received from members of the public and the business community encouraging the MBTA to offer late-night service as a way to boost the region's economy and provide affordable transportation options to employees working late evening shifts.
Beginning next year, service on all subway lines, light rail and the 15 key bus routes will run until 3 am on Friday and Saturdays. Service will not be extended on the commuter rail or ferry.
"Our customers are clamoring for more service and this is one thing we can do to help meet that demand," said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey. "My hope is that this will be a popular option for enough customers that we can institute it permanently in the future. This is another example of the Governor's commitment to growing our economy."
"Late-night service is an idea whose time has come," said MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott. "As Boston continues to grow and develop into an even more vibrant city, we are pleased to announce this pilot program that will help us address Boston's evolving transportation needs."
Late-night service will be subsidized by financial sponsorships from The Boston Globe and other business groups to be named in the coming weeks. Service is expected to cost an estimated $20 million annually (not accounting for offsetting fares or sponsorships). During the pilot program, fares will remain at the same level as those during regular service. In the future, it may be possible to adjust fare prices during the later hours.
As the first Platinum Sponsor of the service, the Globe will contribute $500,000 in cash and in-kind contributions.
Exact date of service will be released early next year.