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Does A World Class City Require 24-Hour Public Transit?

By Micheline Maynard

A Red Line station on the T.

Boston is a big city for public transportation. Fewer than 50 percent of trips take place by private car, meaning Bostonians rely on a portfolio of walking, bicycling, ride sharing, and most important, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, better known as the T.

But the T isn’t open 24 hours, to the frustration of many Bostonians, both those out enjoying the city at all hours, and those whose jobs require them to commute late at night and early in the morning.

Now, 24-hour T and late night bus service has become an issue in the Boston mayor’s race.

The two leading candidates — Councilor at Large John Connolly and State Rep. Martin Walsh — weren’t ready to commit to backing 24-hour T service, in part because the city might not be able to pay for it on its own. However, each said longer hours were important to the community.

That brings up the question: does a world class city require its transit system to be able 24 hours a day?

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