What is public transportation like in Boston?

Answers from Our Experts (2)

Melanie Nayer

Boston is one of the easiest cities to maneuver via public transportation. With an endless array of trains and buses available, it's easy to get around the city when you're visiting. 

Boston's public transportation, better known as the "T" (short for MBTA, Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority), connects all of Boston's neighborhoods as well as Cambridge, Brookline, Allston/Brighton and Logan International Airport. The organization of the subway is laid out in colors: green, red, orange, blue and silver. 

The green line is the oldest operating underground subway train in the U.S., and the most frequented in Boston. This line connects all points within the city, and goes above ground to transport travelers from Boston to popular points like Fenway Park, Boston University, Boston College, and the various art museums.

The red line connects Boston to Cambridge, while the orange line connects Boston to Charlestown and outer cities like Malden and Jamaica Plain. The blue and silver lines will take you to the airport (the silver line also runs through the city's financial district and seaport area).

You can access the T by buying a Charlie Card or Charlie Pass at any T location. T-rides are $2.00 per ride, but buying a pass for a weekend or week-long trip will save you some money.

Kaitlin Madden

Though Boston has one of the oldest public transportation systems in the country, it’s also considered to be one of the finest, at least according to U.S. News and World Report, which ranked the Hub’s public transit as fourth-best in the country. Here are your options for getting around on the MBTA, or “the T” as it’s called by the locals.
Subway/Train: Boston's subway system is comprised of four lines, designated by color.
The red line runs from Cambridge on the city’s northwest side, to Braintree on the south side. Popular stops along this route include Harvard Square, UMass Boston and South Station.
The orange line connects Forest Hills, a neighborhood in the Jamaica Plain area Southwest of the city, with Oak Grove, in the northern suburb of Malden.  Among the stops this train makes: Ruggles Street (on the South Side of Northeastern University), North Station (under the TD BankNorth Garden) and Back Bay Station (across the street from Copley Place, a popular shopping destination)
The green line runs east-to-west, and is convenient to many of the universities in the area, including Boston University, Boston College, Northeastern University and the many schools in the Fenway area.  It’s important to note that the green line breaks off into branches that go in different directions, so be sure to check out the MBTA website before embarking on your trip to make sure you get on the right train.
The blue line runs from the center of the city to neighborhoods to the northeast. This route is a common one for travelers, as the train stops at Logan Airport. You can also take the blue line to Boston’s aquarium.
Bus:  Chances are, if you want to go somewhere in Boston, there is a bus that will take you there. The city has dozens of bus routes connecting any and all points of interest and neighborhoods. Check out the map and plan your trip, here.
Commuter Rail/ Boat: Boston is surrounded by a comprehensive commuter train system, which connects suburbs in all directions to downtown Boston. Train schedules can be found at mbta.com. That’s right, Boston also has commuter boats that offer three different routes between coastal suburbs and downtown harbors. It’s a nice way to get to work, but it’s also not a bad way to see a bit of the Massachusetts coast line on a budget. Tickets for the commuter boat are only $8.

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