Overnight Transit Service


NightBus header

Overnight bus service fills the transit gap in service to provide job access to late and early shift workers. Many are transit dependent.

Boston is a world-class city that never stops working; neither should its transit network.

 

UPDATES

2017 July 31 — The FMCB Board saw a presentation on the pilot proposal sponsored by the Cities of Boston, Cambridge and Somerville and Transitmatters. During the Meeting the Board decided to split our pilot proposal into two alternatives, one for peak overnight service and one for early morning service. Our Pilot Proposal along with Data compiled by the MBTA demonstrated a clear demand for overnight service.  Earlier this year the MBTA put out a RFI for overnight service, in which they received no suitable responses.  MBTA staff has asked the board to decide on the next steps for overnight service, either a relaxed RFP for private operators or an MBTA run service.  The Board also heard public comment and statements of support from:

While we knew to expect no final resolution from the meeting today we do expect a vote on early morning service and further clarification on peak overnight service at the August 14th FMCB meeting.  Please support the proposal by attending the meeting on August 14th 2017, asking your government officials to publicly support overnight service,  writing a letter of support and submitting it to the FMCB. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the MBTA to advocate for equitable, reliable, overnight transit for all of us.

Read our Statement to the FMCB

See the Presentation


 

NightBus Timeline

  • September 2016 — MBTA FMCB directed staff to survey for demand/interest in overnight transit service
  • October 2016 — We met regularly with MBTA, City of Boston, City of Cambridge staff to draft the survey questions
  • Nov-Dec 2016 — MBTA, City of Boston, City of Cambridge, and TransitMatters volunteers distributed and shared the survey; City of Boston and Cambridge also worked to survey employers and collect other sources of information about existing overnight travel in the region
  • January 2017 — MBTA data team processed survey results and data from other sources to paint a picture of overnight travel needs
  • Late February 2017 — MBTA adopted a transit pilot proposal policy. Survey results and data were presented to the MBTA FMCB.
  • March - July 2017 — We worked regularly with the MBTA and the cities of Boston, Cambridge and Somerville to draft a pilot proposal for Overnight Service.
  • July 31st, 2017 — The Cities of Boston, Cambridge and Somerville, and Transitmatters present our pilot proposal to the MBTA FMCB

MBTA staff presented an analysis of the overnight service demand survey and additional data on Monday, 06th February 2017.

Watch the board discussion


MBTA staff presented our plan to the Fiscal Management and Control Board on Monday, 26th September 2016.

Watch the public comments

At the FMCB Meeting, some of our local and state reps, our allies, and our neighbours spoke in support of our plan.

Watch the board discussion

The MBTA Fiscal Management and Control Board hear a presentation and discuss the future of our plan.

Read our Statement on NightBus

Our thoughts on the progress made in the FMCB meeting.

 

News Coverage

T details Foxborough, overnight pilots
Natasha Ishak | Commonwealth Magazine

Could the MBTA run overnight bus routes? Some advocates say yes.
Nicole Dungca | Boston Globe

Hey, MBTA: take this hint on overnight service
Dante Ramos | Boston Globe

Advocates push T to restore late-night service
Jack Sullivan | Commonwealth Magazine

MBTA Leadership Eyes Collaboration with Boston on Night Bus
Michael Norton | State House News Service | WGBH

Late-Night on the MBTA Is Dead. Can NightBus Resurrect It?
Spencer Buell | Boston Magazine

MBTA dithering on late night service
Matthew Robare | Urban Liberty

The MBTA Wants to Know if You Want Late-Night Bus Service
Spencer Buell | Boston Magazine

MBTA Survey to Measure Demand for Regional Overnight Bus Service
MBTA Press Release

MBTA survey aims to clarify demand for late night bus service
WFXT Fox 25 Boston

Rider Survey Eyes Overnight Service
Chris Lovett | Boston News Network


When we saw the writing on the wall for Late Night service, we started working on a way to make overnight transit service a reality. In March of this year, we announced our vision of overnight bus service (more details here - our Commonwealth Magazine article here).

Shortly after, the MBTA FMCB reviewed our proposal. We have been working with the T ever since on what service would look like and more accurate cost estimates. The numbers we arrived at are in the ballpark of our estimates of how much it costs the T to shut down every night (the T has contested our estimate and Board Member Jim Aloisi responded).

Our latest plan establishes a network of buses that form a backbone of transit for our service industry workers and increasing 'round the clock activity in Greater Boston.

Designed for Low-Income Workers

  • Primary users: airport, hospital, office, restaurant customers & employees
  • All shifts accessible; many 5AM shifts
  • Service within 1 mile of most dense areas

Useful, Easy to Operate, Cost Effective

  • Meaningful service at low cost
  • Efficient  coverage with only 10-15 buses
  • Timed connections at Copley Sq
  • Complements existing early bird trips

Measurable & Expandable

  • Phased service plan for future growth (ex. Lynn, Quincy)
  • Easy to add routes, increase frequency
  • Peer cities run every 30 minutes all night

 Concept Route Map

The Stats

🚶 RIDERSHIP

Daily: 500-1,000* Annual: ~420,000

💵 NET COST

$3.5M per year According to MBTA Service Planning

✅ NEXT STEPS

  • FMCB Approval
  • Funding
  • Implementation

📄 Download a PDF flyer of this information here

 

Please show your support for overnight bus by endorsing our plan below!

Who's endorsing

79 endorsements

Will you endorse?