It’s kind of gimmicky, but this Saturday, the good ol’ MBTA will be pretty darned close providing 24 hour service on some routes. The reason? Well, to start, late night schedules, but mostly because it’s the beginning of daylight savings time. Here’s the alert from the T:
Saturday: Despite the start of Daylight Savings Time, the number of available Late Night trips will remain the same Sunday morning (March 8). Last trains will depart from downtown at 3:30 a.m. with outer connections following later.
At 2 a.m. on Saturday, the clocks will magically advance to 3 a.m. The MBTA services running will not magically disappear in to the ether, but the T will basically assume that the time change won’t take place until the end of service. So some of the latest-running trains and buses, which normally don’t finish their runs until about 3:00, will actually not reach their terminals until 4:00. Notably, the last 28 bus will reach Mattapan at 4:05 a.m., the last Mattapan trolley will arrive around the same time, and several other lines will operate until about then.
Most T service doesn’t begin until 6 a.m. on Sunday mornings, but a couple of lines, notably the aforementioned 28, operate early airport service. (There should be a discussion that better service should be provided to the airport, which has expensive and limited parking, many low-wage jobs, and many early shifts, and which is completely inaccessible from most of the city by walking or bicycling, because ocean.) So service at Mattapan this Saturday will include:
3:00: inbound 28 bus departs *
3:15: outbound 28 bus arrives
3:20: inbound 28 bus departs ‡
3:40: outbound 28 bus arrives
3:45: inbound 28 bus departs *
3:59: inbound 28 bus departs †
4:05: outbound 28 bus arrives
4:45: inbound 28 bus departs †
* Saturday late night service † Sunday AM service ‡ Trip scheduled on both Saturday late night service and sunday AM service (!)
Now, it’s worth noting that there is a service gap of nearly three hours in outbound service: the first outbound bus on Sunday isn’t scheduled to arrive in Mattapan until 6:40. But what I find most intriguing is the fact that for nearly an hour, the Saturday and Sunday service actually overlaps (on a normal weekend, the last outbound arrival comes in just 15 minutes before the first inbound departure). Most interesting: the 3:20 a.m. inbound trip can be found on both the Saturday schedule (the 2:20 inbound trip bumped an hour) and the Sunday schedule (the regular 3:20 departure). Will the T run two buses inbound from Mattapan simultaneously, one on a Saturday schedule and one on a Sunday? It’s almost worth venturing down to Mattapan to see.
These are strange times we live in indeed.
The whole idea of changing what time it is is pretty strange if you think about it, and the consequences can be somewhat bizarre, as you can see here.
Also, I feel like there's one MBTA service that absolutely needs to run 24 hours a day: the Blue Line from Bowdoin to Airport, both to serve the airport, and to provide a link across the harbor, which is otherwise impossible to cross without a car during those hours.
It would be a lot easier—and perhaps more cost-effective—to run the Silver Line 24 hours a day, with perhaps an evening extension to Airport or Maverick to better serve Eastie. Even if buses ran every half hour downtown (which you'd need, what, two buses for?) it would be a huge improvement for East Boston residents, airport employees and—and this is from experience—late-arriving passengers who get to the airport to find long lines at cab stands, and no cabs.
This is something that MassPort could (or should) pay for.
But the Silver Line doesn't have bike racks, so that doesn't solve my particular problem…
Anyway, the whole idea of night service to Eastie is something they really need to consider. The one time I took the 193 to Haymarket, I saw the early morning version of the 117 pull in, and it was packed to the gills, so they definitely need more early morning service.
What would it cost to have a single vehicle running during the hours when 28 currently has no service, which would go from Mattapan to Dudley to the airport, back to Dudley, then to Mattapan, then repeat after a short layover?