Exciting MBTA Changes Hit The Track

Before I moved to Boston, I rarely took advantage of public transportation. Living in the suburbs of Minnesota mostly meant driving around in Jeeps through mountains of snow to and from school. Perhaps the only form of public transportation I ever really used before coming to Boston was a big yellow school bus.

This year I’ve actually come to enjoy public transportation. Ever since orientation, freshmen have been told by upperclassmen time and time again to venture into the city of Boston. We’ve had the notion drilled into our heads since day one. Boston is just miles away, with countless opportunities to offer, but how often do freshmen truly venture into the city?

The answer: not enough.

I personally did not take advantage of our wonderful city during my first semester of college-this semester, however, I’ve been able to explore the city that is right in our backyard. One thing that I’ve noticed is that Boston’s MBTA system is probably one of the easiest transportation systems to navigate in the country.

Recently, however, there have been many changes to our beloved T system in Boston. Most importantly, what should we make of these changes? Do they threaten our trips into the city? Will we have to resort to paying $40 for an Uber car?

First and foremost, you do not need to worry. The newly imposed changes to the MBTA just made a great system even better.

Last week the MBTA began extending all subway lines and 15 popular buses until 3 a.m. Mayor Martin J. Walsh, WCAS ’09, made this change in hopes of enhancing Boston’s nightlife-something that has lacked late-night hours for many years. According to a report by the MBTA, the extension was very successful in its first trial days, seeing an uptick in riders. This change will not only encourage businesses to stay open later, but will also encourage Boston’s young population to peruse the city’s nightlife.

On April 1, 2013, the MBTA system announced the Green Line extension into Cambridge and Somerville. With the move, the MBTA is currently looking for fresh faces on the walls of its cars. Back in December, Secretary of Transportation Richard Davey announced that the T will solicit new art for its subways and buses, with a budget of $225,000. Now, the MBTA is starting to implement pieces of art into its vehicles, adding a modern, creative touch to our aging trains.

Not all of the changes to the T are positive, however. Soon, T riders may have to dig deeper into their pockets to get where they’re going. Fares for the subway and bus rides may increase by 10 cents starting July 1 under a proposal by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation finance committee.

But will the 10-cent fare increase really make much of a difference? The T is already by far the least expensive option for public transportation into Boston. Instead of dropping $40 on a taxi or an Uber car, the $2.10 charge seems inconsequential. MBTA officials also confirmed that the new revenue will allow MBTA to hire 284 employees who will operate new services, including the new late-night shift.

Last weekend, I ventured into Chinatown with BC’s Upper T Club by means of the Green Line. Clinging to a ceiling bar for a half hour in a dimly lit, D-line car with a loud group of freshmen is not necessarily a glamorous experience.

So, if you’re thinking about how slow, inconvenient, and annoying the T is on a daily basis, just remember that we are fortunate to have such an accessible public transportation system in our backyard.

As for the upcoming changes to the MBTA, do not be afraid. One rider described her first 2:30 a.m. experience on the Green Line as, “just pumping,” according to The Boston Globe, as people chanted in unison “M-B-T-A.”

Now that is quintessential Boston.

About Bennet Johnson 96 Articles
Bennet Johnson was the Metro Editor for The Heights in 2015 and Business Manager in 2016. You can probably still find him wandering around Boston, wearing his 'Minnesota Nice' T-shirt. Follow him on Twitter @bennet_15.