The MBTA has recently, though unofficially, indicated that late-night service may soon be a thing of the past.
When T drivers most recently picked their shift preferences, the late-night shift was not offered, WHDH reported. That could be a sign that late-night service may soon be eliminated from the schedule altogether.
Joe Pesaturo, an MBTA spokesman, said in an email to the Boston Globe, that “no decision has been made,” and spring schedules do not include the late-night shifts because adding rail trips at a later time is easier than removing them from the schedule.
“We didn’t want to have them sign up for things that could be changing,” MBTA board member Monica Tibbits-Nutt was quoted by the Globe, echoing Pesaturo’s point about scheduling.
The MBTA vote on late-night service will take place on Feb. 29, but some worry that public involvement in any decision-making is for naught since officials already seem to have their minds made up on canceling late-night service, even though they say no decision has been made, the Globe added.
“This isn’t about logistics, this isn’t about planning ahead,” Caroline Casey, a T Riders Union community organizer, told the Globe. “This is about the fact that this public process is a sham.”
Started in 2001, late-night service was dropped four years later due to low ridership, only to be brought back in 2014 with the most popular bus and subway lines having extended hours, according to WHDH, which added that the cost of late-night service is $14 million per year.
Since then, members of the T’s oversight board have heard reports that ridership late at night is low.
Waiting for his train at South Station Monday afternoon, 19-year-old Harvard student Gillermo Gomez said he rides the T during the day, but never at night – the latest he’s used the subway is 4 p.m.
The crowd using late-night service, he said, seems like it could be a “a little sketchy.”
But Brian Finn, 24, a former student at the Wentworth Institute of Technology, said he thought the T should instead be increasing its late-night service coverage, offering trains 24 hours per day.
“That would be awesome. It would give you a little more peace of mind when you’re out late with friends,” he said. He now lives in Haverhill.
As for the possibility that the T could halt the service, Finn said, “I wouldn’t like that.”
Spencer Buell contributed to this report.