It was five minutes past 1:00 a.m. on a Friday night, but over 20 people still milled around the Boylston outbound station, waiting for the next train. Some stood alone, their backpacks slung over their shoulders, headphones in their ears. Others stood in groups, chatting loudly, seemingly returning from one of the Boylston Street clubs judging by their attire. As the train approached and the doors opened, a young blonde man jumped off the train shouting, “I love pizza!” as his friends chased after him.
On Friday, March 28, the first evening of Boston’s new late-night weekend service, Emerson students took advantage of their newfound ability to catch a cheap ride home while getting to stay out later. As reported in the Boston Globe, 10,017 people rode the subway system between 12:30 a.m. and 3 a.m. on Friday night alone. This one-year pilot program will provide weekend service until 3 a.m. on the subway system and the 15 most popular bus routes, MBTA officials told the Globe.
Two students, sophomore Giuli Frendak and sophomore visual and media arts major Austin Pinckney, caught a Green Line train back to campus a little after 2:00 a.m. Frendak said this program will be a huge benefit for the city of Boston in general.
“Night life is going to skyrocket,” Frendak said. “Young people are totally going to take advantage of it, college students all across the city.”
In various stations along the Green Line, the procession of passengers ebbed and flowed throughout the night, with about 15 people hopping onto a train at Hynes Convention center at 2 a.m. The conglomeration of people on the train was diverse — some people appeared to be heading home from work, while four girls sported giant backpacks shaped like Red Bull cans and passed out the drink for free to commuters.
Though many Green Line trains teemed with young, energetic passengers — “It’s like rush hour in here,” said one rider at 2 a.m. on a particularly cramped B-Line trolley; “College, ugh,” said another — other routes were much quieter. Red Line trains between Harvard Square and Park Street had only a handful of commuters in each car. And though a southbound Orange Line train picked up one lively group at the Massachusetts Avenue station, it was muted otherwise.
“I thought it was supposed to be like a drunk train,” said a man at the Chinatown station.
MBTA workers were also out in full force that night. At one stop, a seemingly disoriented man got on the train and was approached by an employee in a neon yellow vest. She asked the lost man if he knew which train he was on, where he was headed, and if she could help him get there.
A steady stream of patrons mingled around Delish, a late-night food cart that brothers George and Jim Aharon set up just outside the entrance of the inbound Boylston station. For the past five years, they have been selling Italian sausage, jumbo hot dogs, and Cajun barbecue chicken to over 100 people daily, and George Aharon said they’re expecting even more with the T’s extended hours.
“There’s more people that get to stay out later,” he said. “For our business especially, it helps out.”
Back in the Boylston inbound station, as Frendak and her two companions were about to head up the stairs, another train released a mob of Emerson students who greeted each other with shouts, cheers, and other exclamations of general merriment.
“That reaction,” said Pinckney, “is why the T should stay open later.”
Managing editor Ryan Catalani contributed to this report.