The MBTA will test late-night weekend service in 2014. Photo by Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro.
Late-night weekend service on MBTA trolleys, subways and 15 key bus routes will begin on March 28, state officials announced Thursday.
“Late night T service is the result of listening to our citizens and trying to respond to their needs,” Governor Deval Patrick said at an event at Kendall Square Thursday morning. “World class cities offer late night public transit, to support the workforce and a vibrant nightlife, and Boston is a world class city.”
Late night service will operate as it does during the day, serving customers at the same stations and stops. All new trips will be scheduled and will appear on Google, phone apps and the MBTA website.
The last Red, Orange, Blue and Green Line trains will depart downtown stations at approximately 2:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights and approximately 1 a.m. on Sunday through Thursday nights.
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. Individual schedules for each station and route can vary, and customers are strongly encouraged to look at schedules before traveling. Regular rapid transit and bus fares will be charged on late night services.
"My administration is committed to creating the kind of safe and vibrant late-night culture that's expected of a world-class city," Mayor Marty Walsh said Thursday.
"Transportation is a critical element to making that vision a reality. I applaud Governor Patrick, Secretary Davey and Dr. Scott for their work to bring back late night service for the visitors and residents of Boston."
Chloe Ryan, manager of the city's ONEin3 Council, said the reaction from the young adult population has been "overwhelmingly positive."
"Later T hours enable us to work non-traditional hours and enhance Boston's competitive edge as a cosmopolitan city attractive to the ONEin3 demographic," said Ryan.
For Sabrina Sandberg, a ONEin3 council member and marketing professional, the late hours are a long overdue necessity.
"The city has one of the best bar and restaurant scenes, but in order for this to thrive, people need the T to be an accessible and economic way to get home," said Sandberg. "Extended MBTA service encourages a more diverse night-time crowd, improves business and raises the bar for Boston to be respected amongst other metropolitan cities."
The later hours will not only help bar-hopping Bostonians, but according to the Massaschusetts Restaurant Association, a major sponsor of the initiative, late-night employees will benefit as well.
“The Mass Restaurant Association has advocated for extended MBTA hours for a long time, mostly for our employees who get out after midnight and are faced with no easy transportation options to get home. We also think it will be a great benefit for a lot of our customers who will be able to experience our great restaurants and nightlife to have a safe mode of transportation," said the association's President Bob Luz.
Chris Coombs, Executive Chef and Co-Owner of Boston Urban Hospitality, a restaurant group that owns and operates dbar (Dorchester), Deuxave (Back Bay), and Boston Chops (South End) considers the extended hours an exciting step towards realizing Boston’s potential.
"We’ve been open until 2 a.m. at our Dorchester restaurant dbar for years, so it’s great for our staff and guests there," said Coombs. "We heard whispers about this announcement and thought it was the perfect moment to launch a late night burger at our South End steakhouse Boston Chops. Industry folks and night owls can hop on the silver line for a delicious, affordable late night burger until 1 a.m. and on weekends, they don’t have to break the bank getting home.”
Transit officials said in December that the year-long pilot program would start this spring, but did not specify the date.