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Tonight, Friday, March 28, 2014, the MBTA is re-initiating Night Owl Service as a one year pilot program. The Red, Orange, Green, Blue, Mattapan, and Silver Lines and Key Bus Routes (Nos. 1, 15, 22, 23, 28, 32, 39, 57, 66, 71, 73, 77, 111, and 116/117) will all operate an additional hour and a half, until approximately 2:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights for the next year. For more information, please see the MBTA’s website: MBTA's website

Massachusetts has been held back by an unsafe 20th century transportation system. Even though Boston ranks 4th in the nation for average weekday ridership on rapid transit, we’re still the 6th worst in the nation for congestion and 8th worst in the nation for air pollution.

This is not only about encouraging a vibrant nightlife in Boston – it is also about building a modern economy and getting Boston’s workers home safely. Last year the MBTA conducted an online survey that received almost 26,000 responses on Facebook and Twitter. About 35 percent said that they would use it to get home from work, while a similar number said they would use it to get to or from school.

As with any pilot program, however, if we don’t use it, we’re going to lose it. The current Secretary of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Rich Davey, has said that the success of the service will be defined in part by ridership numbers, and the feedback that the T receives from riders and political and business leaders. It is also important to keep in mind that due to the election we don’t know who the secretary will be next March, so it is imperative that the success of the service be proven beyond a doubt.

We at MASSPIRG have been committed to Night Owl service for over 15 years, and now that the program is revived, we want to keep it. Please help us by sharing your pictures and stories with us, and we’ll pass them on to the MBTA and your elected officials. Be sure to Tweet #MBTANightOwl or post on the MASSPIRG Facebook page when you use the Night Owl service.

Let’s show our elected officials that we need and deserve late night service in Boston. For a list of apps to help you locate your train or bus and find out when it will arrive see the MBTA’s App Showcase here: MBTApp Showcase

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