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Survey to Measure Demand for Regional Overnight Bus Service

BOSTON - The MBTA today began conducting a month-long survey designed to gather data on overnight travel needs for the public in Boston and surrounding communities.

The survey, available at www.mbta.com/nightbus was issued today in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. The same survey will soon also be available in Chinese, Vietnamese, Haitian Creole and Cape Verdean Creole. MBTA partners will also make the survey available on paper.

TransitMatters, a Boston-based non-profit organization, last April proposed a seven-day a week, bus service operating from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. The MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board, which voted to end weekend bus service in March 2016, authorized staff to work with TransitMatters to further develop their concept. At its September 26, 2016 meeting, the FMCB authorized this survey to help gauge public overnight travel needs. The results will be reported to the FMCB in January 2017.

The MBTA has also received an unsolicited bid proposal from the ride-sharing company Bridj for late night service. Bridj has designed an on-demand late night service model. When customers request a trip, they are matched to a computer generated pick up point, where they'll board a bus with up to ten other customers headed to a similar destination.  Under the model, the MBTA would pay Bridj on a basis of $85 per vehicle hour, about 35 percent less than the MBTA's internal cost of $132/hour.  The Bridj cost would be similar to the T's current cost for contracted services with a private carrier which operates Winthrop routes for the MBTA.

A fare for the proposed late night service has not yet been proposed.

The City of Boston and City of Cambridge are partnering with the MBTA and TransitMatters to better understand the needs of those traveling overnight in and around Boston. The Massachusetts Restaurant Association is also joining this effort to better understand the transportation needs of service industry workers.

The survey will be available online through December 16. For more information visit www.mbta.com/nightbus.

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