Boston’s public transportation is acceptable in the sense that schedules are almost always on time, fares are not a burden on the wallet, and some operators are nice enough to wait for you to get in the train car as you sprint to the stop from a block away. The MBTA is a great service for the city of Boston, but is it a great service for a city surrounded by so many universities? One of the key concerns for many college students is the fact that a majority of the T trains stop running by 12:30 a.m., depending on where you are located. Sometimes students are stranded in the metropolitan area unless they catch a cab back home. Should the MBTA still allow this restricted time frame or should they extend it to a much later time?
A couple of weeks ago, Dayglow was held at the House of Blues in Boston. Many students from different universities attended the event for a night of house music and paint splattering. Everyone was having a great time until it ended at 12 a.m. Leaving a concert with so many delusional people is complete chaos and time consuming. The only thing on most people’s minds is the fact that they must find their way home. Unfortunately, for many, the only way back home was hopping on the T. Those who were consciously aware of the time were running in the pouring rain, with paint all over them to the nearest T station. When 12:30 a.m. hit, whoever didn’t make it to the station was stuck in the middle of Boston. Luckily for me, dramatic running in the rain is my specialty, and I made it on the last train back to Boston College.
This should not happen. The last train to depart should not be as early as 12:30 a.m. One shouldn’t be in constant worry of the time when trying to have fun, especially in Boston—a city. Other cities like New York have 24-hour subway rides and don’t have a problem with people being stuck somewhere due to time constraints. Even though Boston isn’t NYC, it sure has the capacity to act like it with the thousands of university students who are new to the city and wander all over its metropolitan area. If there was a way home that was only $2.50, a broke college student would find that much more appealing than a $30 cab ride back to his or her dorm. Why must the MBTA have a restricted time schedule for its T trains if the majority of the events that most college students go to in Boston are late at night?
The worst crime the MBTA has committed with these time schedules is the fact that trains close around 12:30 a.m. even on weekends. The majority of the events students go into Boston for are on weekends, when people prefer to stay out far past 12 a.m. Sure, departure times vary depending on where you are in the city, but they are still not past 1 a.m. These time restrictions are a burden to those who go out on weekends, since they must arrange their schedules around another restricted schedule. That is not fun. Sometimes people have to make transfers, which is even more time consuming. It’s time consuming and simply annoying. It seems like the MBTA is acting like a parental figure to college students in the Boston area by giving us these time restrictions—they are our curfews away from home.
Community Safety Preeminent:
Almost everyone has had that moment: after a night out in Boston, you stop to think about how good your bed will feel and you realize with that horrible, sinking feeling that the T is closed. Panic sets in and anger follows. Someone must pay for this injustice. You scream, you cry, you rant, but you still haven’t teleported into your bed.
The taxis are few and far between, and those that pass by seem to all be occupied. It is terribly inconvenient, I admit, to have lost track of time and accidentally missed the last train back to Boston College. Yet, I would argue that a public transportation system with an earlier bed time than that of many college students maintains a cleaner, safer city and encourages patrons to plan their evenings accordingly and ahead of time.
A system that closes early means first and foremost that plans have to be made and kept. If you are expecting to be out after the T will be closed, you are required to think ahead and arrange for reliable transportation well in advance of calling it a night. You will be more likely to set limits for yourself, knowing you need money for a cab or that you need to be sober in order to drive home.
This early schedule, by design, also deters younger kids who do not necessarily have access to their own transportation from being unaccounted for in the city at late hours. Parents must be aware of where their kids are going, how they are getting there, and the time frame during which they will be out. This is not to suggest that all kids who go out are “up to no good,” but certainly those who are will have a harder time doing it when they have to be driven there by Mom.
The early closing times indirectly create a citywide curfew. If more people are taking responsibility for their plans, there is less of a chance that citygoers, after a night of revelry, may end up alone and as victims of crime. Less crime means that money and resources can be allocated to other public sectors—and people of all ages can feel safer about enjoying the city however they choose to.
Therefore, the schedule of the T encourages responsibility and accountability. It provides clean transportation to public places. It maintains the standard of a safe city and a respected public transportation system.