By Liz Taurasi
Service will run 90 minutes longer on all subway and key bus routes on Friday and Saturday nights.
Subway and bus riders in Boston can now stay out a bit later on Fridays and Saturdays, as the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority begins offering late-night weekend service starting this weekend.
As part of the expanded service, initially announced in December and confirmed by city and state officials Thursday, the service will run 90 minutes longer on all subway and key bus routes on Friday and Saturday nights.
"Late night T service is the result of listening to our citizens and trying to respond to their needs," Gov. Deval Patrick said earlier in the month. "World class cities offer late night public transit to support the workforce and a vibrant nightlife and Boston is a world class city."
The pilot program, which will last for one year, will allow for service until 3 a.m. on the subway system and the 15 most popular bus routes.
The last Red, Orange, Blue and Green Line trains will depart downtown stations at about 2:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, and 1 a.m. on Sunday through Thursday nights. The service will operate about every 15 to 20 minutes, with more frequent service expected in the core of the system. Riders are encouraged to review schedules before traveling, and all new trips will be scheduled and appear on Google, smartphone apps and the MBTA website, officials said Thursday.
The move is part of an effort to make Boston more appealing to younger residents; officials have also announced plans to expand service of food-trucks in several areas of the city, and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh is looking at a plan that would keep several bars and restaurants throughout the city open until 3:30 a.m.
"My administration is committed to creating the kind of safe and vibrant late-night culture that's expected of a world-class city," Walsh said in a statement Thursday. "Transportation is a critical element to making that vision a reality."
The MBTA has launched a sponsorship program to help cover the $16 million cost of the additional service, and has partnered with Boston-based businesses, including The Boston Globe, Boston Red Sox, Dunkin' Donuts, Suffolk Construction and the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, all of which have signed on as sponsors of the program. Sponsors are contributing more than $1.5 million.
Moreover, the Future Boston Alliance plans to launch a crowd-funding effort to support the service, seeding the effort with $5,000 and setting a goal of raising an additional $20,000 from residents and riders.
For more information or to contribute to the program, visit indiegogo.com/projects/boston-and-late-nite-t-service-lets-do-it.