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By Zhihong Lee
Starting Friday, the late night MBTA service is ready to roll with all subway trains and 15 popular bus routes running until 3 AM on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
MBTA Media Manager Kelly Smith said that the late-night T service is nothing different from the usual service but only an extension of running hours on weekends.
“People are creatures of habit, if you are used to using the green line, the red line, the blue line and the orange line, you want to use it in the late-night too,” Smith said. “People don’t need new routes but new schedules, so this time we think the ridership will be better.”[soundcloud id='143591223' color='#ff7700']
The late night service is nothing new to the residents of Boston. In 2001, the Night Owl bus service was offered, but was eventually stopped nine years ago due to increasing costs and scant ridership. Smith said this time the service has been planned with research from surveys, which would guarantee the normal operation of the trains. “We will use the same staffing levels we have already had,” she added.
Seeking some respite from the estimated cost of $16 million, the MBTA has partnered with many sponsors like The Boston Globe, Boston Red Sox, Dunkin Donuts, Suffolk Construction and the Massachusetts Restaurant Association among others. The sponsorship would contribute over $1.5 million. The Future Boston Alliance is also setting up a fund to support the T service with $5,000 and plans to raise $20,000 from residents.
The late-night trains will run every 15–20 minutes. The 15 mid-night bus routes are: 1, 15, 22, 23, 28, 32, 39, 57, 66, 71, 73, 77, 111, 116, and 117.