First Weekend of Late-Night MBTA Service Was ‘Very Good’

The numbers are in, and customers took nearly 19,000 subway rides Saturday and Sunday morning.

Photo by Olga Khvan

Photo by Olga Khvan

The MBTA told riders that the only way the new late-night service could keep operating was if customers made use of it. And so far they have, according to initial data reported by the transit agency.

On March 28, for the first time ever, the T introduced late-night train service to the tracks, allowing passengers to catch a ride home after the bars close instead of strictly relying on cabs and on-demand car services—or even worse, walking.

Data provided by the MBTA showed that there were some fairly strong numbers for the first two days of the late-night train options. Combined, customers took nearly 19,000 subway rides Saturday morning, between 12:30 a.m. to 3 a.m., and Sunday morning at the same time. “We’re off to a very good start,” said MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott.

Breaking down the numbers, the busiest station was Park Street station, where nearly 2,000 customers entered the facility so they could catch a ride. Boston camped out at Park Street during the first night of service and observed many of the riders opting to make use of the one-year pilot program packing on B Line Green Line trolleys headed in the direction of Boston University, as the night came to an end.

Trailing Park Street for the title of busiest station during late-night service were Harvard, Haymarket, Central, Kenmore, and Downtown Crossing Stations, which all had more than 1,000 entries, Scott said in a release. Scott said 59 percent of all the subway trips started at stations in Boston’s downtown area. The Red and Green Lines were the busiest, with at least 5,000 riders on each.

Based on the data it’s obvious that the first night of service was slightly busier than the second in terms of ridership. This could be for several reasons: Saturday saw much more heavy, steady rain throughout the evening, while Friday was relatively warm and dry. Also worth considering is the fact that the first night was the introductory night, and some people may have kept the celebrating down to one day of bar-hopping around Boston.

When asked if the numbers met the expectations set by the transit agency, Spokesman Joe Pesaturo said the T didn’t calculate any projections for this program. “No projections were made. Staff will closely monitor ridership trends over the course of the one year pilot program,” he said. “I think my fellow riders on a 2:30 a.m. Green Line trip said it best: ‘M-B-T-A!…M-B-T-A!'”

The numbers are still rolling in, too. As part of the late-night program, the T is also keeping buses and select trolley services open until 3 a.m. The data provided on Tuesday did not include the numbers for the bus and trolley trips made over the weekend, however.

“Let’s keep it going,” said an enthusiastic Scott.

Below is a breakdown of the first weekend totals, showing ridership numbers between 12:30 a.m. and 3 a.m.:

First Weekend Totals

Core transfer stations
Friday Night: 3,367
Saturday Night: 2,634

Red Line
Friday Night: 2,419
Saturday Night: 2,219

Orange Line
Friday Night1,390
Saturday Night: 1,222

Blue Line
Friday Night: 464
Saturday Night: 491

Green Line
Friday Night: 2,329
Saturday Night: 2,104

Grand total
Friday Night: 10,017
Saturday Night: 8,715