Late Night Service Discussion

Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

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Re: Boston Mayor-elect Walsh may spur late-night MBTA servic

Postby SM89 » Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:02 pm

CRail wrote:
SM89 wrote:Sorry to bring up buses, but I really don't understand why they can't run the 15 or so key bus routes once an hour throughout the night. They go almost everywhere the trains do and would require much less cost and manpower to operate. No need for station personnel and utility costs at each station and you could still do your night maintenance on the rails. One of the centrally located bus depots could potentially run them all. This is different than night owl service because those were buses attempting to follow the subway lines whereas what I propose is to keep running the key routes everyone already knows.

But anyway, I also agree that keeping the system open until 3 on Friday and Saturday nights would not be as big of a deal as they've been making it.

Look at the current system map with key bus routes. While all of the routes connect to eachother (except the 111, 116, and 117, which does pose a problem to your proposal), they all operate around and away from the downtown area (which is the focal point of this discussion). The system is designed so that bus routes feed the transit routes. If you take away the transit routes, you throw off the whole system. Night Owl was operated the way it was for a reason (lot's of the people who run the service do know what they're doing), you can't just run buses around the city without any service into it.


There are a few holes, but for the most part I think it would be the easiest thing to do, at least in the meantime. They wouldn't have to do all of the key bus routes, that was just the easiest way for me to group the busiest and what I assume are the most useful ones. Almost all of my late night rides could be done via the 1, 39, 43 (though not a key route), or 66 and I'm sure that's true for a lot of people. Service planning should choose an interconnecting selection of bus routes to run throughout the night, not necessarily the key bus routes, though most of them would be ideal. They could do it with 1 bus and 1 operator per route. That's pretty much pocket change.

And I'm not saying the operators don't know what they're doing, I'm talking about people not knowing where to go to find where the "orange line bus", for example.
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Re: Boston Mayor-elect Walsh may spur late-night MBTA servic

Postby jboutiet » Wed Nov 13, 2013 10:23 am

CRail wrote:
rethcir wrote:They only need to do this Friday and Saturday. Do they do night maintenance 7 nights a week right now?

Yes. They don't perform all tasks all the time, but there is never a night when when no maintenance is scheduled (except perhaps for major holidays, but even then skeleton crews are kept on hand in case of emergencies).

That's not to say that extended weekend service could not be worked around, however, as I suspect it could.
Why not just shift the shutdown hours for Friday and Saturday nights, to be roughly 3a-7a, instead of 1a-5a or 1a-6a? I'd imagine the traffic on the system at 5:15 on a Saturday morning isn't all that heavy. Although it doesn't solve the resource issue... I imagine you need far less of a police presence at 6am on Sunday than you do four hours earlier, at 2am Saturday night.
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Re: Boston Mayor-elect Walsh may spur late-night MBTA servic

Postby CRail » Wed Nov 13, 2013 10:52 am

People who work Saturdays and Sundays rely on those 5am trips. The fact that there are far less of them than on mon-fri doesn't matter, that'd be taking away someone's necessity for someone else's luxury.

SM89: By those who "run" the system I was referring to those in charge, not the drivers. It's a blanket statement, not directed only at you, that there is a reason they're in charge and we're talking on an internet forum. Some here have great ideas, and some could certainly do the job. Still, having the attitude that you know better than they do is ridiculous (general comment, not particularly at you, SM. A lot of that goes on here and it's wrong).
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Re: Boston Mayor-elect Walsh may spur late-night MBTA servic

Postby RailBus63 » Sat Nov 16, 2013 9:28 am

Mayor-elect Walsh can use his bully pulpit all he wants, but until someone comes up with the money to pay for this service, it is likely going nowhere.

The big issue that no one seems to understand is that operating late night service on the MBTA is far more expensive than in NYC or other cities because the Carmen's Union members get double-time for these shifts. As in, they get paid double-time for their entire shift. This led to the Night Owl cost being even more inflated because operators with high seniority who normally work earlier hours were bidding on these shifts. The cost per-passenger for the Night Owl service was extremely high as a result and will no doubt be just as high if late service is resumed. By comparison, New York's MTA pays a simple shift differential (essentially a 4 to 5 percent bump in pay) for hours worked between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. If the MBTA is ever serious about restoring late night or 24/7 service, they need to find a way to buy out the double-time provision in negotiations with the union, perhaps similar to how the freight railroads bought out the right to eliminate firemen positions, cabooses, etc. and reduce their crew sizes.
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Re: Boston Mayor-elect Walsh may spur late-night MBTA servic

Postby wicked » Sat Nov 16, 2013 11:10 am

It's been floated that a private operator could be contracted for a late-night bus service.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/0 ... story.html

I'm sure the union is thrilled with that prospect.

The most likely way something happens is if enough employers (Massport, hospitals) and universities (BU and Harvard, namely) decide they would benefit from such a service, and pony up the cash for it.
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Re: Boston Mayor-elect Walsh may spur late-night MBTA servic

Postby The EGE » Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:04 am

London is setting a very good example for 24-hour introduction. They're rolling it out in 2015 starting with 24-hour weekend service on designated key lines (note that unlike the NYC Subway, the Tube is mostly 2-track trunklines with a handful of local-superexpress 4-track lines). And it's possible because they've been upgrading these lines with CBTC and stepping up trackwork.
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Re: Boston Mayor-elect Walsh may spur late-night MBTA servic

Postby The EGE » Fri Nov 22, 2013 1:20 pm

I don't know about London, but comments here and elsewhere indicate that the T does most of their overnight work during the week anyway, hence why Friday and Saturday late night service is doable on 2-track mains. 24/7 service is probably impossible on 2-track systems.
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Re: Boston Mayor-elect Walsh may spur late-night MBTA servic

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Fri Nov 22, 2013 1:48 pm

Most of CTA is 2-track (except the North Side line with Red/Purple express) and Red and Blue run daily 24 hours.
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Re: Boston Mayor-elect Walsh may spur late-night MBTA servic

Postby Teamdriver » Fri Nov 22, 2013 2:25 pm

The EGE wrote:I don't know about London, but comments here and elsewhere indicate that the T does most of their overnight work during the week anyway, hence why Friday and Saturday late night service is doable on 2-track mains. 24/7 service is probably impossible on 2-track systems.

But where does the money come from? Is there a higher after normal working hours rate? Would the people here be willing to pay more for night owling ?
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London announces 24hr weekend Tube. If they can do it . . .

Postby bostontrainguy » Tue Nov 26, 2013 11:50 am

The London Underground will begin offering 24-hour service beginning in 2015, a first for the 150-year old subway system. Initially, a minimum of four trains an hour (more in the city center) will run continuously from Friday morning to Sunday night, on London’s five busiest lines. “More lines will be added to the night-time network as they are upgraded, said Transport for London. The eventual aim is to extend the 24-hour service into the week” (Financial Times).
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Re: Boston Mayor-elect Walsh may spur late-night MBTA servic

Postby Patrick Boylan » Fri Nov 29, 2013 12:43 pm

The EGE wrote:24/7 service is probably impossible on 2-track systems.

Philadelphia's PATCO line is 2 tracks, and I'm pretty sure has always had 24 hour service, at least since 1967, although the 30 minute or shorter headways I remember have creeped up to 45 minutes.

SEPTA's Market-Frankford line, also 2 tracks, had 24 hour service until about 20 years ago. I don't think they discontinued it because it was impossible, but that having owl bus substitute was just a bit easier.
3 of SEPTA's 5 Green line branches operate 24 hours, and their 2 track tunnel is lots less flexible than MBTA's green line. The only way to short turn cars is to back them out of the tunnel at 36th St, there are no crossovers or loops. Otherwise once an LRV enters the tunnel at 40th St it has to go all the way to the end just west of 13th St, go around the single track loop, and come back out.
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Re: Boston Mayor-elect Walsh may spur late-night MBTA servic

Postby Train2703 » Sat Nov 30, 2013 11:48 pm

Patrick Boylan wrote:
The EGE wrote:24/7 service is probably impossible on 2-track systems.

Philadelphia's PATCO line is 2 tracks, and I'm pretty sure has always had 24 hour service, at least since 1967, although the 30 minute or shorter headways I remember have creeped up to 45 minutes.

SEPTA's Market-Frankford line, also 2 tracks, had 24 hour service until about 20 years ago. I don't think they discontinued it because it was impossible, but that having owl bus substitute was just a bit easier.
3 of SEPTA's 5 Green line branches operate 24 hours, and their 2 track tunnel is lots less flexible than MBTA's green line. The only way to short turn cars is to back them out of the tunnel at 36th St, there are no crossovers or loops. Otherwise once an LRV enters the tunnel at 40th St it has to go all the way to the end just west of 13th St, go around the single track loop, and come back out.

Countless Subways in NYC also manage to operate 24/7 with only two tracks.
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Re: Late Night Service Discussion

Postby connartist88h » Sun Dec 01, 2013 3:19 pm

Has there been any consideration of single-track overnight operations? I know the Munich U-Bahn has sent inbound and outbound trains to the same platform during scheduled overnight construction. This would be a viable option if service is provided with headways of twenty minutes or more, and sufficient switch-tracks exist.
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Re: Late Night Service Discussion

Postby NH2060 » Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:16 am

connartist88h wrote:Has there been any consideration of single-track overnight operations? I know the Munich U-Bahn has sent inbound and outbound trains to the same platform during scheduled overnight construction. This would be a viable option if service is provided with headways of twenty minutes or more, and sufficient switch-tracks exist.

The only problem I see with this is people running down to catch their train on one platform (i.e. "OUTBOUND TO RIVERSIDE") not knowing that the other platform (i.e. "INBOUND TO LECHMERE") is where they need to be to get onboard until the train comes in; especially at stations that don't have automated announcements and/or electronic information boards. This could be even more problematic for those who have "had a few too many" ;-)

If the T were to post large message boards at the entrances to each station stating something like "ATTENTION WEEKEND RIDERS: AFTER 12:30AM ALL NIGHT OWL SERVICE TRAINS WILL USE THE ___________ PLATFORM" then there's a lower risk for confusion.
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Re: Late Night Service Discussion

Postby TrainManTy » Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:33 am

What's the signaling/ATC system like if trains were to run wrong-main?
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