Crowding Information for Riders
To keep riders informed during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, we began piloting crowding information for bus and subway. As of May 29, 2021, we’ve updated our crowding data to reflect the statewide reopening.
Two types of crowding information are available:
As Massachusetts begins to reopen, we’ve shifted our crowding definitions to reflect pre-pandemic levels. Crowding data is now based on the thresholds in our service delivery policy.
We describe crowding in three categories: Not crowded, Some crowding, and Crowded:
- Not crowded: Less than 50% of seats are occupied
- Some crowding: Around 50% of seats are occupied
- Crowded: 25% more than the seated capacity
Percentages are based on the specific capacity of the vehicle. For example, a standard 40-foot bus with 37 seats would be considered crowded at 46 riders. A 60-foot bus with 57 seats would be considered crowded at 71 riders.
We'll continue to monitor usage and rider feedback as the state reopens and may make further adjustments as necessary.
Bus Real-time Crowding
Real-time crowding information is available all day, every day for most MBTA bus routes. For each route, our Customer Technology team verifies the accuracy of crowding information through manual passenger counts.
For some routes, crowding information may not be available yet, or may only be available on certain days or times:
Routes 4, 39, 55, 57, 59, 60, 65, 66, 90, 94, 95, 96, 97, 100, 105, 106, 108, 131, 134, 136, 137, 193, 354, 411, 430, 501, 504, 553, 554, 556, 558, CT2, and CT3
Routes 71 and 73
Routes 34 and 34E
How to Use Bus Crowding Information
Crowding information is now available on our website, on certain digital signs, and within the Transit app.
Visit the schedule page for any route the information is available for, and then tap or click the vehicle icon on the map or the line diagram.
You might also see E Ink screens that predict crowding levels on the buses scheduled to arrive.
Subway Crowding Trends
Crowding trends are available for the Red Line, Orange Line, and Blue Line and are updated weekly. These trends are estimated based on the service delivery policy. They are subject to change.
How to Use Subway Crowding Trends
Use the tool below to see recent crowding levels on the subway. We recommend traveling outside of the peak travel times whenever possible.
Real-time crowding is a new data source we developed in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Crowding data is now available on the majority of MBTA bus routes.
Subway and Commuter Rail
Live crowding data for the subway and Commuter Rail isn’t available yet. Additionally, because our data is based on fare card taps at station faregates, crowding information is not available for Green Line and Mattapan Trolley.
Check back here for updates and to see weekly crowding trends for the Red, Orange, and Blue lines.
Get the latest updates on service changes related to COVID-19.