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More early morning buses will begin this weekend: MBTA

The MBTA is kicking off a year-long pilot to provide more early-morning service to commuters who need to get to downtown Boston before dawn.
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The MBTA is launching a one-year pilot to bring bus service as early as 3:20 a.m. to some routes. Photo: Nicolaus Czarnecki/Boston

The MBTA’s buses will be waking up a bit earlier starting this weekend.

Beginning Sunday, April 1, the MBTA is kicking off a one-year pilot program to increase early morning bus service on the busiest routes that travel to downtown Boston, the Seaport and major stops in between.

Select bus schedules will now start as early as 3:20 a.m. as a way to serve resident, the MTBA said, who “who start their work day before many people’s alarms ring.”

Along with earlier start times, the MBTA will provide additional service on existing routes during the pre-dawn hours as a way to better serve the riders who rely on this transportation the most.

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Some routes will be extended past their normal end stops in the early morning hours to provide direct service to downtown Boston and Logan Airport.

With that extension, commuters can reach those locations before the trains even start running (on the Red and Orange lines, weekday trains start running around 5:15 a.m, on the Green line, at 4:56 a.m. and on the Blue line, 5:13 a.m.).

Several routes already provide some early morning service, the MBTA said, but this expansion, the result of a year-long ridership study and planning effort, provides even more options where riders need them most.

“These new early morning routes are here for the people who make Boston run,” said MBTA General Manager Luis Manuel Ramírez in a statement. “We know that getting downtown before the sun rises can be a challenge, and our vision is to offer more service for riders who need accessible, affordable, and reliable options in their neighborhoods.”

The routes that will start running earlier are:
Saturdays: 109. 117, 455
Sundays: 31, 109, 455
Weekdays: 16, 19, 31, 32, 65, 70, 104, 109, 455

Boston-area commuters who work outside of the typical 9 to 5 have previously criticized the MBTA for its limited late night and early morning options.

The MBTA recently requested bids for a late-night bus service pilot intended to launch this summer, but, MassLive reported, Ramírez said at a transit meeting earlier in March that the agency did not receive any bids back when first looking for contractors.

The MBTA encourages people to visit its online trip planner at mbta.com/trip-planner to learn if the new early routes can help them, and to visit mbta.com/EarlyAM for more information.