MBTA to launch late-night service on weekends

The MBTA will test late-night weekend service in 2014. Photo by Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro.
The MBTA will test late-night weekend service in 2014. Photo by Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro.

Night owl Bostonians will soon be able to catch a late-night ride on the T.

Gov. Deval Patrick announced on Tuesday that as early as March, all subway trains and the 15 most popular bus routes will run until 3 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, including the Silver Line.

“Any progress on this is good,” said Suffolk University student Funsho Owojori, co-founder of Boston Stay Up, a grassroots campaign that has pushed for later T service, seven days a week.

“I think the T is going to get great feedback from community,” she said.

The one-year pilot program will cost an estimated $20 million, and will be funded by the state and subsidized by financial sponsorships from The Boston Globe as well as yet-to-be named business groups.

Fares will remain the same for the pilot program, but may be adjusted if the T continues service into 2015.

T service currently ends at 1 a.m., an hour that late-night service advocates found insufficient for the growing metropolis.

“Extending service on weekend evenings will allow the public to enjoy the many attractions and restaurants the region has to offer and give workers a more cost-effective option for getting home late at night,” said Patrick.

From 2001 to 2005, the T launched the Night Owl program, which kept trains running until 2:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday mornings. However, it was canceled due to low ridership.

Transit Police Superintendent-in-Chief Joseph O’Connor said there was no spike in criminal or disorderly activity during the Night Owl program, and that the T will be adequately staffed with officers during the late-hours.

“We are used to crowds of people coming from areas where there might be alcohol involved,” said O’Connor. “The vast majority of riders use the system responsibly. We are prepared to deal with those who get out of hand, though we anticipate it to be a very small number.”

Boston Stay Up Co-Founder Joel Edwards said he isn’t concerned about the late hours exposing riders to more criminal activity.

“I don’t think people need to be worried about that,” said Edwards. “If anything, I’d say there might be an increase in obnoxious activity.”

Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS



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