MBTA cancels late-night service
T official says program impeded efforts to repair tracks
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
AFTER NO DISCUSSION at Monday’s public meeting, the MBTA control board canceled extended-hours weekend service, authorizing the transit agency to terminate it by March 19.
MBTA Assistant General Manager Charles Planck told the T’s Fiscal and Management Control Board that the extended hours, which began as a pilot in March 2014, impede efforts to repair tracks overnight.
Planck said the late-night weekend service on subway lines and major bus routes has had declining popularity, with roughly 13,000 rides taken per night. He said removing late-night service from the fiscal 2017 budget resulted in $9 million in savings.
Supporters of late-night service say it’s beneficial to restaurants, bars, and others involved in cultivating extended-hours commerce, as well as workers in a variety of industries.
On his monthly “Ask the Governor” radio segment, Gov. Charlie Baker, who oversees the MBTA, said earlier this month that the late-night service model tried by the MBTA is “not the answer.”
“Keep in mind first of all that late night is 90 minutes on Friday night and 90 minutes on Saturday night. It has very, very low ridership and it’s hugely expensive to operate,” the governor said.Asked about a potential alternative model, Baker said, “That’s the conversation we probably ought to have.” He said, “I have my own ideas. Well, we’ll share them with you at some point. But a lot of other people have ideas about this too, not just me.”
Michael Norton contributed reporting to this story.