The MBTA Is Delaying Replacing Late-Night Services

Officials are cautiously considering an overnight bus service as a replacement.

Photo by Olga Khvan

Photo by Olga Khvan

MBTA officials seem open to the idea of replacing the T’s recently canceled late-night weekend service, but it might take some time.

According to, board members met on Monday to discuss various replacement proposals that would help ease the impact the cancelation had on minority and low-income populations. Measures included increasing bus services for select weekend and early-morning bus routes—such as the 66, 109, 111, 116, and 117—which would end up costing around $600,000 a year.

However, in order for service changes to be put into effect by the summer, the T’s assistant general manager Charles Planck said at the meeting that the board would have to approve the changes by April 15. Instead, officials decided to table the proposals for now, opting to wait for Planck to finish conducting an analysis on the feasibility of a daily, overnight bus service.

Transit advocates Jeremy Mendelson and Ari Ofsevit and former Transportation Secretary Jim Aloisi wrote a piece for CommonWealth magazine about their idea for an all-night bus service alternative. The plan would include nightly, hourly services on select bus routes, with buses congregating at a centrally-located area, making it easier for riders to make transfers.

The proposal would be “mostly an extension of current service,” making use of current MBTA stops, and may only incur an annual cost of $1 million.

While many board members seem interested in taking a closer look at an all-night option, that means other alternatives have been tabled for the time being.

According to, transit advocate and Conservation Law Foundation vice president Rafael Mares believes that the delayed decision may mean that any measure that gets approved will likely not be implemented until the fall.

While it’s encouraging to see that the agency is looking for ways to mitigate the impact that cutting late-night services had on at-risk groups, don’t expect to see changes overnight.