MBTA Not Considering Late Night Service

Due to the strain on resources, the MBTA has no plans as of now to extend service hours despite massive local interest.

The days of the Night Owl bus service are long gone, and as of now, they may not return.

MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said until the state implements Gov. Deval Patrick’s recent 21st Century Plan transportation budget roll out, late night service is out of the question.

“Given the enormous strain on the MBTA’s limited resources, the Authority cannot even consider an extension of service hours before action is taken on the 21st Century Transportation Plan,” Pesaturo said in an email.

The Night Owl bus service, which ran buses from the end of service at 1 a.m. to 2:30 a.m., existed between 2001 and 2005, but was too costly to maintain.

Another major issue working against late night service is the short time it allows for crews to perform critical track maintenance, according to Pesaturo.

In the 2012 Massachusetts Department of Transportation film “Boston Under: After Hours,” one segment explains that from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., crews perform maintenance on tracks while service is shut down.

That hasn’t stopped T riders from pushing for late service.

Boston Stay Up, a Twitter account (@beantownstayup) and Facebook group started by two Suffolk University students “trying to get the T to stay open later,” sprung up recently.

Though there are no plans now, the door remains open to future late-night service. Bostinno.com reported Jan. 22 that at least some MassDOT were considering a plan if new funding could be found.

“The MBTA is investigating providing service beyond our current 1 a.m. schedule on a pilot basis where there is ridership demand,” according to a statement from MassDOT officials on Bostinno. “If additional operating funds are identified, major bus routes and the most heavily traveled portions of the subway and light rail systems will be considered for extra service.”

Matt Carter March 01, 2013 at 05:27 AM
The issue with the MBTA Subway System running late is Maintenance. Between 1AM and 5AM critical track maintenance is done on the crumbling rail network. Unlike other major cities like NYC that run a three track system the T runs a two track system as 100 years ago they did not think of maintenance. The two track system means that when repairs need to be done on the rail service must be suspended instead of in New York where trains are just rerouted onto the 3rd track. To make the MBTA system better several Billion $$$$ would be needed to completely rebuild subway tunnels and make them wider. That's probably not going to happen. Until it does happen the system has to close overnight. Now I am completely for late night Bus service. There is no reason buses can not run until at least 3AM.


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