History

History

Chronicle Transit

The Chronicle of the Boston Transit System

Many people study and cherish Boston's rich and colorful history with its ideas of liberty, freedom, and democratic concepts. Few, however, are aware of Boston's historic lifeline regional mass transportation. While Boston is the birthplace of American liberty, it is also the birthplace of American mass transportation.

Beginning with a family-operated ferry service, Boston has nurtured many forms of mass transportation, right up to today's most sophisticated mass transit vehicles. The Hub's transit system is the oldest and fourth largest in the nation has a history longer than that of American independence.

Mass transportation first emerged in the city in 1631, when Boston was a peninsula connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of land which is now the South End. With no bridges and only limited access to the mainland, transporting freight by ox cart from Winnisimet (Chelsea) to Boston was a two day journey through Malden, Cambridge, Brighton, and Roxbury. People traveled within the city on foot, and rarely went beyond its borders; for most could not afford horses and wagons.

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