Date Set For New Late-Night MBTA Service

The trains will be staying open past midnight starting on March 28.

People never thought it would happen, but the MBTA is finally rolling out its late-night train and bus service for passengers trying to catch a ride home on the weekends after the bars close.

Starting on March 28, the Red, Orange, Blue, and Green Line trains will depart downtown stations at approximately 2:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, offering riders an alternative to clambering for a taxi or Uber car when nightclubs and watering holes announce last call. Sunday through Thursday, trains will leave at 1 a.m. The extended service will also include later hours on 15 key bus routes.

Extended late-night service will operate approximately every 15 to 20 minutes in most cases, with more frequent service in the core of the system. “Late night T service is the result of listening to our citizens and trying to respond to their needs,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “World class cities offer late night public transit, to support the workforce and a vibrant nightlife, and Boston is a world class city.”

Patrick, along with Mayor Marty Walsh, MassDOT Secretary Rich Davey, and MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott officially announced the launch of the service during a press conference at Kendall Station, along the Red Line, on Thursday morning.

The late-night service, while convenient and certainly a change from what Bostonians have become accustomed to, is not a permanent fixture, though. Transportation officials will be testing the service during a one-year pilot program, which will be contingent upon how often riders actually utilize the later trains, as well as if the T can land some partnerships with corporate sponsors to help offset the costs to extend the hours.

Last month, the T announced a new, tiered program offering special sponsorship deals that gives companies in and around Boston the opportunity to slap their name on transit property, and pitch in to help maintain and operate the new late-night option going forward. Already, Boston Globe, the Red Sox, Dunkin’ Donuts, Suffolk Construction, and the Massachusetts Restaurant Association have signed on as partners.

The move for late-night service coincides with a recent announcement made by Walsh’s administration indicating that he’d like to see certain areas of the city where nightlife is thriving stay open a few extra hours into the morning. Last week, Walsh said he would convene a Task Force and ask them to come up with a report detailing whether or not the plan is feasible.