Late Night Service Discussion

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Late Night Service Discussion

Postby Teamdriver » Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:27 am

'' It was one of State Representative Marty Walsh’s big campaign promises to constituents championing a 24-hour city: If elected, he said, he would push for late-night MBTA service, garnering a mix of state funding and partnerships with private organizations to make the extended hours a reality.

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Now, as Walsh stands victor of the Boston mayoral race, constituents are beginning to rally to hold him to that promise.

It’s a watershed moment for what has sometimes seemed a pie-in-the-sky request from late-night service advocates: Last July, state legislators passed a transportation finance law that included requiring the T to come up with a plan to extend weekend nighttime hours.

And advocates are hoping a mayor wholly on board with the project could make the difference between failure and success. ''

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massac ... story.html
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Re: Boston Mayor-elect Walsh may spur late-night MBTA servic

Postby millerm277 » Mon Nov 11, 2013 12:41 pm

I don't think there are many people that actually care about 24x7 service, and it doesn't sound like that's what they're going for.

Last call in Boston is 2AM, and there's plenty of events and general social life that would rather not have to be over by 12AM with the current system shutdown that starts around 12:30AM. If the T could stay open until ~2:30-3:00AM on Friday and Saturday nights, you'd have met all the major demands of the population.
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Re: Boston Mayor-elect Walsh may spur late-night MBTA servic

Postby NH2060 » Mon Nov 11, 2013 2:27 pm

I agree. Service until 2-3/3:30, even just on weekends, isn't unwarranted and would be very well patronaged IMO.

However, this does nothing to solve the problem of no commuter rail service after 11:30-12:00. The city would be remiss to not petition the T to have the last CR trains leave after the last subway/light rail runs. There are a number of densely populated communities that are within VERY close proximity to Boston, but are not within reach of the subway/light rail i.e. Chelsea, Weymouth, Hingham, Lynn, Newton, Wellesley, etc. I have no doubt that many who live there would love nothing more than to be able to take the CR into the city and not have to leave before it's even midnight. That puts a huge damper on plans and the ability for those living outside Boston (and Cambridge) to fully take advantage of all that the city has to offer at night. And with a very large *car-less* student/young adult population there's definitely a big enough of a ridership market to tap into.

An extra 2-3 outbound runs (every hour-90 mins. or so) on each line would be a perfectly adequate level of service. Again it's not necessarily the infrequency of outbound trains late in the evening that deters would-be visitors, but the timing of the last trains themselves. Additional trains at say 12:45, 2:00, 3:30 would offer more flexibility and (more important) options for anyone wanting to go into the city for the evening. And when the last trains reach their destination they can simply be positioned at their prospective stations for the first morning runs.
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Re: Boston Mayor-elect Walsh may spur late-night MBTA servic

Postby madcrow » Mon Nov 11, 2013 4:57 pm

NH2060 wrote:An extra 2-3 outbound runs (every hour-90 mins. or so) on each line would be a perfectly adequate level of service. Again it's not necessarily the infrequency of outbound trains late in the evening that deters would-be visitors, but the timing of the last trains themselves. Additional trains at say 12:45, 2:00, 3:30 would offer more flexibility and (more important) options for anyone wanting to go into the city for the evening. And when the last trains reach their destination they can simply be positioned at their prospective stations for the first morning runs.

Sounds good. Don't most frieght moves occur in the late night/early morning time frame though? While the T owns most of the South Side lines, IIRC some of the North Side stuff is owned by Pan Am who propably wouldn't like the T running extra trains during prime freight hours.
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Re: Boston Mayor-elect Walsh may spur late-night MBTA servic

Postby Finch » Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:24 pm

madcrow wrote:
NH2060 wrote:An extra 2-3 outbound runs (every hour-90 mins. or so) on each line would be a perfectly adequate level of service. Again it's not necessarily the infrequency of outbound trains late in the evening that deters would-be visitors, but the timing of the last trains themselves. Additional trains at say 12:45, 2:00, 3:30 would offer more flexibility and (more important) options for anyone wanting to go into the city for the evening. And when the last trains reach their destination they can simply be positioned at their prospective stations for the first morning runs.

Sounds good. Don't most frieght moves occur in the late night/early morning time frame though? While the T owns most of the South Side lines, IIRC some of the North Side stuff is owned by Pan Am who propably wouldn't like the T running extra trains during prime freight hours.

Pan Am doesn't run THAT many trains in the Boston area. I trust the dispatchers could figure out how to work in a few late-night commuter runs. In fact, it's not unheard of to see freight moves in broad daylight.
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Re: Boston Mayor-elect Walsh may spur late-night MBTA servic

Postby SM89 » Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:37 pm

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

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:17 pm

Some of you may recall the "Night Owl" bus program from a decade ago. The 2002 subway schedule on Wayback Machine has details.
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Re: Boston Mayor-elect Walsh may spur late-night MBTA servic

Postby Elcamo » Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:36 pm

I feel like opening up late night service on the subways will attract a lot more drunks and potential for injury at the stations. Definitely going to run into more issues when dealing with hammered passengers. A bus wouldnt run into the same safety concearns, although the potential for harassing drivers would be an even great problem than it is today.
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Re: Boston Mayor-elect Walsh may spur late-night MBTA servic

Postby BandA » Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:03 am

This is excellent; Boston's mayor-elect wants to extend service! Naturally the city of Boston will cover all costs, and not to be left out Cambridge will also join in the plan.
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Re: Boston Mayor-elect Walsh may spur late-night MBTA servic

Postby wicked » Tue Nov 12, 2013 2:28 am

Elcamo wrote:I feel like opening up late night service on the subways will attract a lot more drunks and potential for injury at the stations. Definitely going to run into more issues when dealing with hammered passengers.


Are you kidding me? New York runs a 24-hour system and how many incidents of that sort do you hear about?

Besides, better hammered passengers than hammered drivers.
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Re: Boston Mayor-elect Walsh may spur late-night MBTA servic

Postby diburning » Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:58 am

This doesn't solve the problem with how they would do maintenance on the subway lines overnight if they are planning to run extra service.

Also, last time I checked, the MBTA is a state agency, and the mayor of Boston has little to no say in what the MBTA does. Honestly, this looks more like political theater than anything else.
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Re: Boston Mayor-elect Walsh may spur late-night MBTA servic

Postby MBTA3247 » Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:02 am

If they had strategically located universal crossovers, they could do single-track operations around sections where work is being done on one track. Service would be sparse enough that good dispatching would prevent any serious delays from trains having to wait for opposing traffic to clear the single-track section.
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Re: Boston Mayor-elect Walsh may spur late-night MBTA servic

Postby rethcir » Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:54 am

They only need to do this Friday and Saturday. Do they do night maintenance 7 nights a week right now?
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Re: Boston Mayor-elect Walsh may spur late-night MBTA servic

Postby CRail » Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:40 pm

wicked wrote:Are you kidding me? New York runs a 24-hour system and how many incidents of that sort do you hear about?
...

Because you don't hear about them you assume they don't happen? What resources are in place to prevent unsafe conditions for passengers, staff, and property in New York, and at what cost?

If you haven't experienced Park Plaza at 2am on a Saturday, I suggest you do before deciding what won't be affecting the service. Boston Police are everywhere with blue lights on (just as a precaution), foot patrols are all about the area, and there's a serious presence of private security. Introducing transit into the equation creates a slew of other issues to handle. They are not insurmountable, but they must be acknowledged. I know we're not talking about resurrecting the Night Owl service, but this was a factor in shutting it down. Although the service may be different, some of the factors will remain the same.

diburning wrote:Also, last time I checked, the MBTA is a state agency, and the mayor of Boston has little to no say in what the MBTA does.

Check again. The MBTA is a state controlled operation but its purpose is to serve the City of Boston and its proper. All towns and cities served by the T have a lot of say in the service they receive (Mayor Curtatone of Somerville, for example, has a lot of influence in the Green Line Extension). The mayor of Boston most certainly has his hands deep in the goings on of the MBTA.

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

Postby CRail » Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:44 pm

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.
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