Back in early December, a report that stated the MBTAwould bring late-night T service to Boston’s weekends spread like wildfire. And though some details were presented — most notably, an extended schedule to 3 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday mornings across all MBTA stations and the 15 most popular bus routes — many didn’t really believe this shit was actually going to happen.
The report pegs the launch at a still-rather-vague “late March,” but that’s good enough for now. Whether it starts on Friday, March 21 or Saturday, March 29 — or hell, even early April — isn’t too much of an issue, as long as it happens. BoMag also reports that the “new program was designed as a one-year trial run, and will cost the state $20 million.”
So, the extended service won’t be a money-making venture, BoMag says, which means it’s up to us to show the powers that be that it’s a necessary cost and needs to be implemented beyond the 12 month trail period.
And we do that, of course, by simply using the service.
On an average Saturday night, the MBTA says 5,200 people ride between midnight and 1 a.m. Let’s say that extending hours will yield another 10,400 riders per weekend night from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m., or about 1.1 million extra rides per year. At $2 a pop, that’s $2.2 million in revenue — about $18 million less than the cost of operations. Some of that will be defrayed by corporate sponsors, but it’s up to us to show that it’s worth their money—and to show politicians that voters will riot if this service ever goes away.
The report also says that trains will run every 10 to 15 minutes after 1 a.m., so some planning is in order. But we’ve had decades to plan for it.