Overnight Transit Service


This endorsement page is archived from our original efforts to bring overnight transit service to metro Boston. Spoiler alert: We were successful! We thank all of you for your support over the past couple years.

For information on the MBTA Late Night & Early Morning bus service that began on September 2, 2018, please visit:



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.



2017 October 31 — The FMCB yesterday agreed to advance the Overnight Transit Service pilot program sponsored by TransitMatters, Boston, Revere, Chelsea, Cambridge and Somerville. The service, called NightBus, is structured to provide transit service to the nearly 50 thousand workers who leave jobs between 1am and 4 am.

The FMCB  decided to delay final  approval of the pilot to determine how to implement Nightbus in the most cost-effective manner.

The options that will be considered include:

  • Private Operators servicing the route via a RFP.

  • Utilizing MassPort "Sunrise Service & Longwood Medical Area shuttles to service the routes in the early morning hours.

  • Seeing if private operators could utilize shorter buses to reduce the cost of operation.

  • Working with Carmen's Union to utilize part time employees to service the route at a reduced cost.

The Chair of the FMCB also set a target date of July 2018 (FY19) for it to be implemented.

TransitMatters is committed to seeing NightBus through to implementation. Nightbus is on the Horizon!


2017 October 30 — The FMCB will vote on the overnight portion of NightBus! We need you to speak out in support! Endorse the Project below, ask your elected officials to speak at the meeting in support, speak in support at the meeting and watch the livestream!

2017 July 31 — The FMCB 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

  • October 30 2017 - The FMCB will vote on the overnight portion of the NightBus Proposal
  • August 14 2017 - The FMCB approves the extending early morning bus routes as a portion of NightBus!
  • July 31 2017 — The FMCB is shown the pilot proposal sponsored by the Cities of Boston, Cambridge and Somerville and Transitmatters. 
  • 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

What is NightBus?


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


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


$3.5M per year According to MBTA Service Planning


  • 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

92 endorsements

Will you endorse?

  • Patrick Baxter
    endorsed 2016-09-22 19:22:04 -0400
  • Thomas O'Brien
    endorsed 2016-09-22 19:21:48 -0400
  • Jack Ausick
    endorsed 2016-09-22 18:29:47 -0400
  • Shane Mathews
    endorsed 2016-09-22 18:13:27 -0400
  • Maxwell Morrongiello
    endorsed 2016-09-22 18:09:44 -0400
  • Travis Amiel
    endorsed 2016-09-22 18:06:01 -0400
  • Alex Canepa
    endorsed 2016-09-22 16:49:32 -0400
  • Fiona Wood
    endorsed 2016-09-22 16:45:52 -0400
  • Peter Eccles
    endorsed 2016-09-22 16:39:12 -0400
  • Charleston Sarjeant
    endorsed 2016-09-22 15:44:06 -0400
  • Drew Salad
    endorsed 2016-09-22 15:15:14 -0400
  • A. Stewart
    endorsed 2016-09-22 14:31:17 -0400
    I fought hard to stop the end of the Late Night T Service; I went to every public meeting in Cambridge, and continually voiced support along with hundreds of others, many of whom are not in an economic position to fight for this much-needed service; when public meetings are at 6, many are still are work. It felt as though we were entirely ignored. This presented plan is sensible, much cheaper, will help the greater economic climate of Boston, and most importantly will provide a service to those who need it most. Please give this a shot. The hard workers who are not in the “normal” 9-5 deserve it.
  • Marina Varlamova
    endorsed 2016-09-22 14:26:34 -0400
  • Elliot Borenstein
    endorsed 2016-09-22 14:08:38 -0400
  • Harry Mattison
    endorsed 2016-09-22 13:13:32 -0400
  • James Jay
    endorsed 2016-09-22 12:55:25 -0400
  • James Jay
    MBTA Rider Oversight Committee endorsed 2016-09-22 12:52:53 -0400
  • Scott Ryder
    endorsed 2016-09-22 12:35:01 -0400
  • Marc Ebuña 🦃🦃🦃
    published this page 2016-09-22 12:16:19 -0400