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Inspired by ‘blatant need,’ Boston Nightlife Express is a late-night T and taxi alternative

Posted by Alex Pearlman  March 7, 2012 05:41 PM

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boston nightlife express opening night.jpgBy Samantha Curtin

Since the dawn of time -- or at least since they started venturing off-campus to party -- Boston-area college students have found themselves facing a dilemma in getting home come closing time: The city’s bars and clubs shut down at 2 a.m., but the T stops running by 1 a.m., and cabs can be pricey and hard to find.

Knowing the situation well, recent Boston University graduates Jonathan Castillo, Ryan Kaplan, and Eric Pasinski have come up with a solution: the Boston Nightlife Express, a chartered coach bus that provides direct transportation between downtown Boston and the area’s college campuses in the hopes that students will “travel safe, party more, and spend less,” as their slogan says.

“It was absolute madness trying to get a taxi when the bars and clubs close at 2 a.m.,” said Kaplan. Having personally waited over an hour for a cab, he knew there was a “blatant need for an affordable, direct, and immediately available way to get home.”

BNE currently offers private rentals -- including free entry and line-cutting privileges at the venue of your choice -- and runs public routes serving BU and Emerson College. “The number of customers and buses depends on the night, but at least one bus goes out every Friday,” Kaplan said. “[On a recent weekend], about 50 percent of the seats on the bus were booked online beforehand.”

By offering tickets for $3-$5 each way, payable by cash or credit card (great for those of us who never carry cash!) when riders board the bus, the trio is doing everything in their power to make transportation to and from the city’s nightlife as fun, easy, and, most importantly, cheap as possible.

full boston nightlife express buss.jpg“You can enjoy your night until bars close at 2 a.m., and the bus is there when you leave,” BU senior Michael Powers told the Metro.

Riders may also find BNE’s club promotions -- for example, free entry and line-cutting privileges at Gypsy Bar -- attractive. While the company mainly works with Gypsy Bar and Bijou, they also honor special requests from students, tweeting daily to keep their followers up-to-date on promotions.

“There have been times when students requested a different club once they get on the bus, and we have been able to work out some last-minute deals with venues like The Estate and Royale in the past,” Kaplan said.

Due to the positive feedback they've received so far, the company has plans to expand their service to Endicott/Salem, Boston College, Tufts, and Brandeis sometime in the near future.

“There’s not much to do out [in Endicott],” Pasinski told BU Today. “Kids are dying to get into Boston.”

Have you ridden the Boston Nightlife Express? What did you think of the service?

Photos of co-founders Eric Pasinski, left, and Ryan Kaplan, right, placing their banner on the bus for the first time (top) and BNE’s first filled bus (bottom) by Ryan Kaplan.

About Samantha -- I'm a South Shore native pursuing a career in the advertising industry, a lover of travel, snow, sand, and anything creative, and a Boston sports enthusiast with a secret desire to become the next Cake Boss. I want to do what I love and love what I do while continuing to travel the world. Twitter: @samanthancurtin

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