Some cities have 24-hour gyms. Some have thickets of all-night diners. And some, like Boston, go nearly dark in the wee hours. But even if Boston suddenly became a late-night city, getting there from here would be a problem. The T stops running shortly after midnight. Late-night cabs are scarce. And while Boston's lack of late-night transportation often comes up in the framework of neighborhoods vs. revelers, it's also an issue for service industry workers, a hindrance to startup culture, and a barrier to new commerce.
This week, we asked Boston's mayoral candidates what they would do to improve the state of late-night transportation in the city. Here's what they said. Add your thoughts to the comments, or tweet at the hashtag #BosMayor.
John Connolly, @JohnRConnolly
Boston City Councilor
I will forcefully advocate for full funding of the MBTA and ensure it receives the resources it needs. We are hurting the economic potential of this city with limited T hours, so we have to extend MBTA hours past midnight.
I support a Boston with 24/7 options in appropriate parts of the city. Too often, the debate involves only a discussion about liquor. This is really about ensuring that Boston has a rich, welcoming, and inclusive arts, culture, and social life so that we attract and retain talent and draw visitors that create jobs and fuel our economic engine. We need restaurants, coffee shops, gyms, galleries, and performance space with extended hours. We need more arts festivals and a real commitment to public art. And to do this, we need an MBTA with extended hours and better transportation infrastructure.
Bill Walczak, @BillWalczak
It is imperative that we improve late-night transportation in Boston. Many service-industry employees work until 2:00am and 3:00am and they are being forced to spend exorbitant amounts on cab fares or walk long distances through unsafe neighborhoods. Boston needs to become a 24-hour city, extending the runtimes of buses and subways, in order to cater to the needs of those workers as well as to stimulate business that comes from the bustling nightlife that exists in our city. We also need to reform our taxi system, bringing in an independent group to determine the right amount of medallions for the city, beginning to treat taxi drivers as full-time employees instead of contracted workers, and allowing for a regional taxi system that works with surrounding areas that we all understand to be part of the larger fabric of the Boston community.
John Barros, @JohnFBarros
Former school board member
To extend service hours I will work closely with the Governor to fully fund the MBTA capital program and put the MBTA on sound financial footing, while strongly advocating that the MBTA needs to be affordable and safe for all residents of Boston. In order to help make late night service a reality Boston needs to be a partner in helping to increase usage of public transit. To help increase ridership, I will work towards the implementation of a U-Pass for all university students in Boston through bulk purchases of passes by universities. In addition, I will provide more incentives to increase residential and commercial density along the transit nodes.
Felix Arroyo, @FelixArroyo
Boston City Councilor
I believe our MBTA should be 24/7. It will help contribute to the livelihood and economic development of our city. If we are serious about investing in Boston, we must be serious about investing in transportation. We need the right balance of increased funding and reforms to support economic growth and improve transportation options for all residents of Boston. I support progressive new revenue options and reforms necessary to fund the city's critically needed long-term investments.
Mike Ross, @MikeforBoston
Boston City Councilor
The next mayor of Boston will have to make public transportation their priority. Not only will I bring late night public transit to Boston, I've done it before. In 2001, I worked with the MBTA and a group of students to start the Night Owl, and for years Boston had late night bus service. I'll find a way to bring that back.
Charlotte Golar-Richie, @Charlotte4Mayor
Former State Representative
As mayor, I would strongly encourage the MBTA to make improvements to the system by organizing an effort to understand better where people want to go at night. I’d make sure that, along those routes, there is better street lighting, and better information given to people about scheduling, such as organizing a city-sponsored smart phone mobility application that will give people real-time information and updates about public transportation. I’d also make an effort to create transportation hubs in the city, by identifying places where people want to be; those hubs could have things like pedicabs, schedules, and zip cars. The idea of creating these hubs and keeping them open at night could be a way to improve people's mobility so that they’d know that if they got to a hub, they’d be able to find one or more ways to get to their destination late at night.
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