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.

 

UPDATE

2017 Feb 06 — The Board has moved forward with a 'planning challenge.' At the meeting, the Board identified priorities and parameters they would like to see in proposals while leaving room for people and companies to analyze the survey data on their own and come up with corridors or routes. Depending on the proposals, the Board may select multiple options to pilot, leaving room for 'hybrid' service with fixed route (think normal MBTA bus route with schedules) and on-demand (think Uber/Bridj/Lyft) service together.

The Board said they want to ensure any proposal include fixed route (but not limited to that), ability to use CharlieCard, lowest subsidy to the MBTA, open data sharing, and priority for low-income work trips.

This is a great win for Greater Boston and we look forward to continuing our collaboration with the MBTA to advocate for equitable, reliable, overnight transit for all of us. It's time to move Faster Forward!

Progress

  • 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 2016 — MBTA data team processed survey results and data from other sources to paint a picture of overnight travel needs
  • February 2016 — MBTA Board moves forward with open 'planning challenge' to allow others to design and propose services that meet the service, equity, and cost goals set forth by the Board

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

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!

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