Late-night service is returning to the MBTA—at least for the near future.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick announced Monday that the MBTA will run all subway trains, light rail, and the 15 most popular bus routes until 3 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The one-year pilot program—which Patrick predicts will provide an economic jolt to the local economy—is slated to begin next spring, and may be extended after that.
According to a press release from the governor's office, the late-night expansion will cost approximately $20 million annually. In the first year, the cost will be subsidized by local businesses, including The Boston Globe. The Globe, which broke the story of the expansion in Tuesday's paper, has committed $500,000 in cash and in-kind services to help underwrite the increased hours, a contribution that makes it a "Platinum Sponsor".
The T currently ends service at 1 a.m., much to the chagrin of people who point out that bars and restaurants close at 2 a.m. Workers in the state's tech industry also say they tend to work unconventional hours. Gov. Patrick has previously argued that hat service-sector employees who work late into the night are ill served by the T's current timetable.
In Copley Square Tuesday, response to the T's expanded late-night hours was largely enthusiastic.
"The bars get out later than the train runs—that's like promoting drunk driving," said Kris Norton. "I think it's great…. I'll probably be more likely to go out more often."
"It’ll obviously help businesses, and commuters in general, because a lot of people work much longer than the 1 am/1:30 a.m. closing time," said Osa Aim. "People will have a much cheaper and safer way to get home."
If the upcoming pilot program is popular enough to be extended, the state said today, late-night fares may be increased to help cover the cost of service.
A previous effort to provide late night bus service failed due to low ridership.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.
Watch the segment on Greater Boston: