A public advocacy group plans on delivering a report to MBTA officials outlining their findings, based on a survey, about providing late night transportation options to Bostonians.
The MBTA Rider Oversight Committee, an independent think-tank dedicated to “the improvement and expansion of public transit in the Greater Boston Area,” is examining the lack of late-night or overnight MBTA service and is looking for ways to help riders get it.
“We plan to develop a full report to be delivered to the MBTA that determines whether late-night service is feasible using the existing MBTA system. To do that, we are pouring over data, counting up riders, and adding up costs. But we also need your help!,” the group said in a statement, attached to a survey sent out to riders called the “MBTA After-Hours Survey.”
By filling out the quick survey online, which asks questions like “If the subway ran during overnight hours, which station would you most often board?,” the group wants to compile responses and use them to develop a final recommendation to the MBTA.
The Rider Oversight Committee is affiliated with, but independent from, the MBTA and is made up of riders, advocates, and MBTA employees who “provide recommendations to the MBTA and communicate the needs and concerns of all riders,” according to the T’s website.
The MBTA did not commission this survey, according to officials.
The survey asks riders when the services would be most beneficial to them, and what hours they would like to see trains operating throughout Boston.
It also asks if overnight service is something that would be crucial for some passengers, throwing out the idea of operating from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., and how much people would be willing to fork over in exchange for the extended hours.
Despite current efforts to gauge how often people would utilize late night service, T officials said Tuesday that there is no way to make it available at this time.
“Given the enormous strain on the MBTA’s limited resources, the Authority cannot even consider an extension of service hours before action is taken on the ‘21st Century Transportation Plan,’” said MBTA Spokesman Joe Pesaturo in an email to BostInno.
It’s not just cash holding the MBTA back from having later trains, either.
Workers for the T also do train and track maintenance during the overnight hours, from 1 a.m. until 5 a.m., in order to have services ready for the morning commute.
The plan Pesaturo referenced was one floated by Governor Deval Patrick earlier this year, which hinted at adding late-night weekend MBTA options for passengers, provided the proper funding were made available through additional taxes and state revenues in the next fiscal year.
If lawmakers take the bait and decide to implement Governor Patrick’s proposed transportation plan, pumping $1 billion into the state annually, bar crawlers could find themselves skipping the cab rides home, and using the MBTA until 2 a.m. on weekends.
“The MBTA is investigating providing service beyond our current 1 a.m. schedule on a pilot basis where there is ridership demand,” according to a statement from MassDOT officials. “If additional operating funds are identified, major bus routes and the most heavily traveled portions of the subway and light rail systems will be considered for extra service.”
Since late-night service won’t be an option anytime soon, customers can still take the survey and help the Oversight Committee get a better understanding of what kind of extended hours the city should have.