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Next Stop, Boston

The T makes much possible, once you get used to it


Although it squeaks and groans and can run late, greater Boston’s public transportation system—formally the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), but known near and far as the T—has been getting BU students around town for more than 100 years. It is the nation’s oldest subway system and—despite its imperfections—usually the fastest and cheapest way to get around the city.

The electronic ticketing system makes the entry process easy for T rookies, but like mass transit everywhere, the system retains plenty of quirks. On some lines, such as the Green Line’s B and C branches, the proximity of stops to one another can be deceiving when looking at an MBTA map. Don’t be afraid to hoof it sometimes (for instance, between Blandford Street and BU Central) to avoid a wait.

In the slideshow above, Laurel Koller (CAS’10, SED’10) and Paola Mora (CAS’10) take the T through Boston, offering helpful navigational tips. More information about the T is available here.


CharlieCard (a reusable, rechargeable plastic card): $1.70
Free transfer to local buses and discounted transfer to express buses

CharlieTicket (a reusable, rechargeable paper ticket) or cash on board: $2

Monthly LinkPass: $59
Unlimited travel on subway, plus local buses

Weekly LinkPass: $15
Unlimited travel on subway, local buses, commuter rail zone 1A, and inner-harbor ferry for seven days

Daily LinkPass: $9
Unlimited travel on subway, local buses, commuter rail zone 1A, and inner-harbor ferry

Semester LinkPass through BU Parking and Transportation Services: $210.04
Unlimited travel on subway and local bus for each four-month semester (the deadline for purchasing a pass for this semester has passed; a spring semester pass can be purchased in November).

BU stops

Green Line B trolley: Numerous stops inbound between Packard’s Corner and Kenmore Square
Green Line C trolley: St. Mary’s Street, Kenmore Square
Green Line D trolley: Fenway, Kenmore Square

For access to other lines

Red Line: Park Street
Blue Line: Government Center
Orange Line: Park Street or Haymarket
Silver Line (bus line) to Dudley Square: Boylston Street
Silver Line (bus line) to Logan Airport: South Station

Boston MBTA Subway Map

This article was originally published on August 26, 2008. It has been updated to reflect current MBTA routes and ticket fare.


13 Comments on Next Stop, Boston

  • Anonymous on 08.05.2009 at 12:51 pm

    wonderful : )

  • T Rider on 09.03.2009 at 7:28 am

    Also note: 1. "T" refers to

    Also note:

    1. “T” refers to the whole public transport system–busses, subways, and commuter rail.

    2. Because the B line stops every 500 feet and the 57 Kenmore bus doesn’t, it’s usually faster to take the bus to Kenmore then grab the next inbound train.

    3. “Inbound” means into square where all T lines cross, rather than a particular stop, e.g., both Park St and Government Center are “in.”

    4. Boston is a compact city and stops on the maps are close in real life. It can be faster to walk aboveground from one line to another than to go out of your way to transfer. It’s also a great way to see parts of Boston you might miss otherwise.

    5. A CharlieCard works through a purse or wallet if it’s in the outermost section. No fumbling required!

  • Jon Niehof on 09.03.2009 at 9:59 am

    "Recharge online"

    Please read the small print on “recharging” the Charlie Card online. Value added online doesn’t go to the card right away, and won’t be added when you tap the card on a vehicle (green line or bus.) You have to go through a subway turnstile or use a “fare validator” machine for the transaction to go through…in which case you might as well just use a fare vending machine in the station.

    Also, if you decide on monthly passes, you can get a (small) discount through the parking office by paying in advance for a whole semester. http://www.bu.edu/parking/transportation/mbta-student-semester-pass/

  • Anonymous on 09.08.2009 at 5:59 pm

    The Silver Line wasn’t mentioned in the video as one of the lines.

  • Anonymous on 10.20.2009 at 5:00 pm

    It’s worth noting that there are 2 silver lines… one picks up at Boylston, and the other at South Station (which requires a transfer to the Red Line). This could confuse someone heading to the airport.

  • Anonymous on 08.24.2010 at 12:23 pm


    I’m going into senior year and it is still irritating. The only reason its useful is because it is the only public transport system. Anything that makes you wait 15 minutes after you get to the station is not efficient.

  • Valerie on 08.27.2010 at 9:55 am

    Not bad

    The fares do not seem too bad at all. This article will no doubt open the eyes of other commuters as well. The T really is a great way to get around and a great alternative.


  • Julie on 05.07.2011 at 4:27 am


    It’s worth noting that there are 2 silver lines… one picks up at Boylston, and the other at South Station (which requires a transfer to the Red Line). This could confuse someone heading to the airport.

  • anonymos on 08.29.2011 at 10:03 am

    I don’t know if the author has ever taken the T (public transit as in a third world country) but claiming that it’s the fastest way to get around is a joke. Ever took a bike, car or cab???? Sometimes you even walk faster than the T……

  • Mike on 08.29.2011 at 12:31 pm

    “…usually the fastest…” That’s definitely not true.

    Students should be aware that the green line and 57 are often so crowded at peak times (8-9am, 5pm, 9pm and anytime a Red Sox game lets out) that buses and trains will pass you by because they are already full. You should build it into your schedule to let a bus, and sometimes up to 4 buses, pass you by.

  • John Smith on 08.29.2011 at 1:00 pm

    i live in kenmore and $2 seems cheap, but when you have a group of 4,
    that’s $16.00 round-trip to take the train!
    sadly, it’s cheaper to drive my car the 6 blocks!!!
    it should be FREE and 24 hrs!!!

  • AnnoyedSenior on 08.29.2011 at 5:53 pm

    “it can run late”?

    Actually, I think you find that the T shuts down far too early. Sure, midnight or 1AM might be late enough on nights when you have an early morning class teh next day, but most people aren’t looking to go out those nights anyway. Come the weekend when you might want to go to a party, you better be ready to find some other way home, otherwise you’re going to be leaving just when the party actually starts.

    “usually the fastest and cheapest”?
    NEVER the fastest, and now thanks to Hubway, not the cheapest either. I live out by Harvard and Brighton and work at 15 St. Mary’s. It would be the perfect commute to use the 57 bus for. Unfortunately, I can almost always walk from my home to work without a single 57 bus passing me. Definitely not the way to get anywhere quickly. And now that the Hubway system is up and running, you can cut you commute times on the T in half by just riding a bike instead. No need to wait 20 minutes for buses and trains.

    Support a system that works; give Hubway a try. Don’t both using the T unless you must to avoid the weather or your clothes making biking inconvenient.

  • James Donahue on 06.27.2015 at 11:19 pm

    I hate the T. Once you know the roundabouts of boston, don’t bother taking the T. “Oh, yea, it’s the fastest”…No it’s not, it’s the slowest. I’ve ridden the T for a few years and gave up on it. If you live outside of Boston and have a car, there’s no point of getting the T (or the commuter rail) unless the destination where you are going has no parking. For instance, you want to go to Salem Ma, and you are on Riverside. Here it is, Car parking = 5 dollars, round trip from riverside to north station is $5.20 and the commuter rail is like 15 bucks round trip. That’s like 30 bucks, while you can just drive directly to Salem MA and just pay 20 bucks for parking. Not only you will save money, it’s faster. AND, you don’t have to worry about missing the train! The only time I would use the T or the commuter rail is if I am going to a special event or a ball game where they charge premium for parking, or parking isn’t available.

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