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

Weigh in via a survey that went live this week.

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.

A few options are on the table right now. One is a network of buses that would travel between designated hot spots all night between the hours when trains stop running and when they re-open in the morning. A proposal for that kind of service was pitched by the advocacy group TransitMatters, and laid out in more detail in Commonwealth. There is some disagreement about how much it would cost, but its architects say it would certainly be much cheaper than keeping the subway operating all night.

Another idea is to tap the services of the smartphone-enabled ride-sharing service Bridj, which shuttles commuters in upscale vans and can vary its routes based on demand. The company, which currently operates during the day, has proposed a system whereby the T would pay $85 an hour for its services—a cost that is 35 percent cheaper than running a bus and which could be offset somewhat by collecting fares.

The decision about which direction to take late-night service will ultimately come down to a vote of the T’s board, and they want your input before they make a decision.

The survey, which is offered in several languages and takes about 10 minutes to complete, asks for information about where and when you travel between 1 and 5 a.m., whether you use a smartphone, how far you might walk to catch a bus late at night, and whether you might change your travel patterns if late-night T service was an option. It doesn’t ask about any one proposal in particular.

It’s being conducted in partnership with officials in Boston and Cambridge, TransitMatters, and the Massachusetts Restaurant Association. The board will have the results in January.

 


Spencer Buell Staff Writer at Boston Magazine sbuell@bostonmagazine.com


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