MBTA 2022: Taking Public Transit in Boston

If you're new to the city or taking the T in from out of town, this is where you can get advice from people living in The Hub. Please keep discussion limited to things in and around Boston.
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Kashimalin
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MBTA 2022: Taking Public Transit in Boston

Post by Kashimalin »

All right, thanks to the pandemic + train construction, there's some updates about the MBTA! This topic is for people to ask questions about taking the "T" (MBTA) in Boston or to share their tips.

My experience: I take the train on a daily basis because I do not have a license and can direct you to almost anywhere if I've got a map and two minutes. Here's a couple things to know about the T now, as of February 2022:
  • UPDATE: As of late April 2022, masks are now optional on the MBTA.
  • The Green Line, which is the main line used to get to the Hynes, is currently under construction. The Hynes and Prudential stops are not impacted. As of March 2022, trains now head out to Lechmere and to the new stop, Union Square. Anything beyond that will most likely not open by May 2022. Train end-destinations are: B and C trains terminate at Government Center, D trains terminate at North Station, and E trains at Union Square.
  • They have updated the tickets and ticket machines, which may not play nice with older Charlie cards. And, as @Lamron pointed out below, your Charlie card might now be expired and you will have to get a ticket or a new card when coming into town. If you had money on it, you will have to go to Downtown Crossing to get that transferred. For getting a new card and putting your old money on it: the Downtown Crossing Charlie Card store is only open Wednesday and Friday for the general public, 12:30pm to 5pm. Tickets can still be purchased at any machine.
And to end this off with a nice tip, an oldie but always a goodie ;) : Take the E to "Prudential" instead of any other train to the Hynes stop. It's a whole walk indoors through a nice mall, instead of a walk outside along a major road with a big road crossing involved. (So the walk through the air conditioned mall will much better in the potentially hot late May weather!)

MBTA-ers, add on your tips about close to transit hotels, last-train out advice, and such, and those with questions: ask away! :D
Last edited by Kashimalin on Sat Apr 23, 2022 12:15 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: MBTA 2022: Taking Public Transit in Boston

Post by aresef »

It's been a few years since I've been in Boston, I've memory-holed a few things. I'm thinking of taking Amtrak up and maybe a train back to Baltimore (cause Memorial Day prices are wonky and I don't really want to spend six hours on a train both ways). So to get to Logan, we transfer to the Silver Line and it's idiot-proof from there? And the silver line is actually a bus and not a train?
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Re: MBTA 2022: Taking Public Transit in Boston

Post by Kashimalin »

I totally get it! Train there, plane back, got it!

Amtrak means pulling into either Back Bay (Orange line) or South Station (Red line), so that's going to be a little bit of transfer-dancing.
  • Orange Line will be from Back Bay > board going towards Oak Grove > Get off at Downtown Crossing > Walk through a tunnel to Park Street > Green line.
  • Red Line is from South Station > board going towards Alewife > Park Street, transfer to Green line.
For Logan, yeah, it's the Silver Line and it's easy! The one sticky bit is actually getting to the Silver Line, as the Number 1 line leaves from South Station. Your order is:

Green Line (Hynes or Prudential) > head into Park Street > transfer to the Red Line > head towards South Station (Braintree/Ashmont direction) > and then follow the signs for the SL1!

My recommendation is to make sure you take the Amtrak from Baltimore to Boston South Station, that way you can see it when you come in and go to the same place when you go! When it gets a little closer I'll throw a map your way if you want, but I'm sure that one you look at maps and come into town, it will start coming back to you! :D
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Re: MBTA 2022: Taking Public Transit in Boston

Post by Lamron »

Kashimalin wrote: Fri Feb 18, 2022 9:36 pm
  • They have updated the tickets and ticket machines. This doesn't impact much, it's just good to be aware of.
Since they updated the machines, older Charlie cards may be expired, mine is, and you have to go to the Charlie Card office at the Downtown Crossing station. From what I was told, they are only open on Wednesday and Friday for normal operation and Tuesday and Thursday for the elderly and disabled.
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Re: MBTA 2022: Taking Public Transit in Boston

Post by Kashimalin »

Lamron wrote: Sun Feb 20, 2022 5:33 pm
Kashimalin wrote: Fri Feb 18, 2022 9:36 pm
  • They have updated the tickets and ticket machines. This doesn't impact much, it's just good to be aware of.
Since they updated the machines, older Charlie cards may be expired, mine is, and you have to go to the Charlie Card office at the Downtown Crossing station. From what I was told, they are only open on Wednesday and Friday for normal operation and Tuesday and Thursday for the elderly and disabled.
Oh, that is SUCH a good point. There was the whole kerfuffle with them posting the announcements as people started taking the trains again with "Check your expiration date!" Time to go edit the original post.
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Re: MBTA 2022: Taking Public Transit in Boston

Post by oobedoob »

Just to add with the Charlie cards, the attendants at North Station will sometimes place the cards on the windows in front of the security booth area overlooking the kiosks. Was able to grab a new one there a few months ago. Also doesn't hurt to ask an attendant at any of the stations around the kiosks (if they're around) if they have any, in the past I've been able to get them from them as well.
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Re: MBTA 2022: Taking Public Transit in Boston

Post by Lamron »

oobedoob wrote: Fri Feb 25, 2022 9:56 pm Just to add with the Charlie cards, the attendants at North Station will sometimes place the cards on the windows in front of the security booth area overlooking the kiosks. Was able to grab a new one there a few months ago. Also doesn't hurt to ask an attendant at any of the stations around the kiosks (if they're around) if they have any, in the past I've been able to get them from them as well.
Yes, you can get free cards at most stations. They do not have any money on them. :-) We were talking about older/expired cards that have money on them and you need to go to the store to transfer the money to a new card.
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Re: MBTA 2022: Taking Public Transit in Boston

Post by Kalyoth »

Is there still a fare discount from the charlie card vs. the charlie tickets? Or are they all the same now? Not been on the MBTA for several years.
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Re: MBTA 2022: Taking Public Transit in Boston

Post by Elli21486 »

A topic I am familiar with as I am a vet at going to Anime Boston from the MBTA.

The Hynes Convention Center can be access by three different subway train stations. The most convenient station would be the Hynes Convention Station (Green Line - B, C, D) but you will need to go outdoors and cross a street to get there. The second option would be the Prudential Center (Green Line - E) and is completely indoors. The last option is Back Bay Station (Orange Line/Commuter Rail/Amtrack). That one is quite a walk but it is completely indoors if you are willing to use stairs and escalators. Yes, the Hynes Convention Center, Prudential Center, Copley Place, Prudential Center Station, and Back Bay Station are all connected to each other in some form or another.

As for the new, the already discussed MBTA Ticketing machine. Those machines not only accept cash and credit card but they also accept the Tap feature. I am not sure if Apple Pay/Samsung Pay/Google Pay are accepted as well but it is worth a try at some point.

Last but not least, there is still a discount for Charlie Card users. The Charlie Ticket are more expensive but I believe you can now recharge them like the Charlie Card.
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Re: MBTA 2022: Taking Public Transit in Boston

Post by Kashimalin »

Kalyoth wrote: Sun Feb 27, 2022 11:58 am Is there still a fare discount from the charlie card vs. the charlie tickets? Or are they all the same now? Not been on the MBTA for several years.
Elli21486 wrote: Sun Feb 27, 2022 4:18 pm
Last but not least, there is still a discount for Charlie Card users. The Charlie Ticket are more expensive but I believe you can now recharge them like the Charlie Card.
I'm actually not sure about that one. I'll need to re-check the ticket stations. I thought they equalized the pricing a while back, and the website now says the subway is 2.40 for "CharlieCard, CharlieTicket" users. Sorry for not being sure - monthly passer, got it when the fare discount was different. I honestly do just recommend the CharlieCard over the ticket every time, even for infrequent visitors, but you CAN recharge those tickets now.

Also, I did some digging to be prepared and found this page: https://www.mbta.com/fares/charliecard
Scroll down, hit "Select bus and subway stations." That backs up oobedoob's statement about the security windows having the cards - I've just never had to use them before, because again, devoted monthly-passer. But that depends on staffing. There's people in red jackets now who might be able to help or guide you to the right person.
Elli21486 wrote: Sun Feb 27, 2022 4:18 pm
As for the new, the already discussed MBTA Ticketing machine. Those machines not only accept cash and credit card but they also accept the Tap feature. I am not sure if Apple Pay/Samsung Pay/Google Pay are accepted as well but it is worth a try at some point.
However, with Tap feature like this: it's really time for me to go waste $5 in the name of research and test out these new machines & check out the fare info. Maybe I can do it on the way home from work this week, because North Station definitely has them! I've got a bunch of spare CharlieCards from work passes with the monthly on the back. Oops.
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Re: MBTA 2022: Taking Public Transit in Boston

Post by Kashimalin »

Kalyoth wrote: Sun Feb 27, 2022 11:58 am Is there still a fare discount from the charlie card vs. the charlie tickets? Or are they all the same now? Not been on the MBTA for several years.
Answer gotten! It is - No!

The ticket machines now show buses at $1.70 and subways at $2.40 for both CharlieCards and CharlieTickets!
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Re: MBTA 2022: Taking Public Transit in Boston

Post by aresef »

Kashimalin wrote: Sun Feb 20, 2022 11:47 am I totally get it! Train there, plane back, got it!

Amtrak means pulling into either Back Bay (Orange line) or South Station (Red line), so that's going to be a little bit of transfer-dancing.
  • Orange Line will be from Back Bay > board going towards Oak Grove > Get off at Downtown Crossing > Walk through a tunnel to Park Street > Green line.
  • Red Line is from South Station > board going towards Alewife > Park Street, transfer to Green line.
For Logan, yeah, it's the Silver Line and it's easy! The one sticky bit is actually getting to the Silver Line, as the Number 1 line leaves from South Station. Your order is:

Green Line (Hynes or Prudential) > head into Park Street > transfer to the Red Line > head towards South Station (Braintree/Ashmont direction) > and then follow the signs for the SL1!

My recommendation is to make sure you take the Amtrak from Baltimore to Boston South Station, that way you can see it when you come in and go to the same place when you go! When it gets a little closer I'll throw a map your way if you want, but I'm sure that one you look at maps and come into town, it will start coming back to you! :D
Thanks, I think I can figure it out. If I do take the train up, it would probably be one of those overnight ones and I don't want to mix with morning rush traffic on the T, which would mean getting off at Back Bay.
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Re: MBTA 2022: Taking Public Transit in Boston

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aresef wrote: Mon Feb 28, 2022 11:24 pm
Thanks, I think I can figure it out. If I do take the train up, it would probably be one of those overnight ones and I don't want to mix with morning rush traffic on the T, which would mean getting off at Back Bay.
https://www.mbta.com/trip-planner

Gives step by step directions just put in start and end locations
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Re: MBTA 2022: Taking Public Transit in Boston

Post by Elli21486 »

Had to buy a weekly pass so I was able to test it out. Samsung Pay works at the new machines which means Apple Pay and Google Pay should work as well.
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Re: MBTA 2022: Taking Public Transit in Boston

Post by Elli21486 »

So for a visual reference, the MBTA actually released a video about the new ticket machines. You can view the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvNBpkeZ-1c

Accepted Payments:
  • Cash
  • Magnetic Stripe Cards
  • Chipped Cards
  • Tap Enabled Cards
  • Tap Enabled Apps
Keep in mind, there are two tap locations. The first location, on the left (big circle) is dedicated for the MBTA Charlie Cards (and I would assume the touch Charlie Tickets.) The smaller rectangle under the Credit is dedicated to payment.

Another thing to keep in mind is that I am not sure whether the new tap Charlie Tickets are rechargeable.
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Re: MBTA 2022: Taking Public Transit in Boston

Post by PatrickD »

aresef wrote: Mon Feb 28, 2022 11:24 pm
Kashimalin wrote: Sun Feb 20, 2022 11:47 am
  • Orange Line will be from Back Bay > board going towards Oak Grove > Get off at Downtown Crossing > Walk through a tunnel to Park Street > Green line.
Thanks, I think I can figure it out. If I do take the train up, it would probably be one of those overnight ones and I don't want to mix with morning rush traffic on the T, which would mean getting off at Back Bay.
If you get off at Back Bay, please DO NOT take the Orange Line subway to the Green Line. Yes, you can do that, but it's easier to walk from Back Bay station if you're able. There's a tunnel under Dartmouth Street into the Copley Place mall. Walk through that mall and past the Marriott. There's a skybridge across to the Prudential Center mall. You can walk through that to the Hynes and Sheraton. It's all indoors and only a couple blocks. MUCH easier than boarding the Orange Line and going to Park Street station to change to the Green Line and then ending up a block away anyway.
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Re: MBTA 2022: Taking Public Transit in Boston

Post by Kashimalin »

PatrickD wrote: Wed Mar 23, 2022 12:34 pm
aresef wrote: Mon Feb 28, 2022 11:24 pm
Kashimalin wrote: Sun Feb 20, 2022 11:47 am
  • Orange Line will be from Back Bay > board going towards Oak Grove > Get off at Downtown Crossing > Walk through a tunnel to Park Street > Green line.
Thanks, I think I can figure it out. If I do take the train up, it would probably be one of those overnight ones and I don't want to mix with morning rush traffic on the T, which would mean getting off at Back Bay.
If you get off at Back Bay, please DO NOT take the Orange Line subway to the Green Line. Yes, you can do that, but it's easier to walk from Back Bay station if you're able. There's a tunnel under Dartmouth Street into the Copley Place mall. Walk through that mall and past the Marriott. There's a skybridge across to the Prudential Center mall. You can walk through that to the Hynes and Sheraton. It's all indoors and only a couple blocks. MUCH easier than boarding the Orange Line and going to Park Street station to change to the Green Line and then ending up a block away anyway.
GASP! I had NO IDEA. That's so much easier! I wondered if there was a way to sneak from Back Bay to Copley because of the 39 and the route it takes... but I didn't know it was that easy to explain without getting into street names and saying "aim for the Marriott." The tunnel makes that MUCH easier. I think a little exploration journey is in order...
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Re: MBTA 2022: Taking Public Transit in Boston

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Elli21486 wrote: Sun Feb 27, 2022 4:18 pm The last option is Back Bay Station (Orange Line/Commuter Rail/Amtrack). That one is quite a walk but it is completely indoors if you are willing to use stairs and escalators. Yes, the Hynes Convention Center, Prudential Center, Copley Place, Prudential Center Station, and Back Bay Station are all connected to each other in some form or another.
That is what I was saying. The tunnel could be used to either enter or exit the Back Bay Station. The entrance to the tunnel from Back Bay Station is located behind the stairs that head up to Street Level. If you are already at Street Level, you can enter the tunnel with a set of stairs before leaving the building.

This is the general path:
Get off Orange Line at Back Bay > Head to exit gates behind stairs > Walk through tunnel under Dartmouth > Walk up stairs to ground level > Go up Escalator to 3rd level of Copley Place > Walk through Copley Place > Go down Escalator to 2nd Floor > Walk through Sky Bridge over Huntington > Walk through Prudential Center > Arrive at Hynes

The path is completely indoors!
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Re: MBTA 2022: Taking Public Transit in Boston

Post by Shirley Dulcey »

The MBTA fare machines were recently replaced. The new machines will give you a new Charlie Card on request unless they have run out; you have to load some money or a pass onto it when you get it. There is no extra charge for the card, you just pay for whatever fare you put on it. Charlie Cards are good for about ten years, and even if your card expires you can go to the Charlie Card office and get the balance put on a new card. (That's a pain for visitors though!)

If you don't think you will use it often, you can get one of the tappable Charlie Tickets instead. Those DO expire and lose their value, so try to use up everything before you travel home.

The tunnel from Back Bay to the Copley Place Mall is only reachable from the Orange Line platform. If you come in by train (either Amtrak, or commuter rail from the Providence or Framingham/Worcester lines) you would have to pay a fare to get there. You'll have to walk across Dartmouth St instead. Come up from the train platform to the ground level, exit on the side with a street rather than a bus stop area, and walk across; there is a mall entrance nearby.
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Re: MBTA 2022: Taking Public Transit in Boston

Post by aznman08 »

Shirley Dulcey wrote: Fri May 13, 2022 11:27 pm The tunnel from Back Bay to the Copley Place Mall is only reachable from the Orange Line platform. If you come in by train (either Amtrak, or commuter rail from the Providence or Framingham/Worcester lines) you would have to pay a fare to get there. You'll have to walk across Dartmouth St instead. Come up from the train platform to the ground level, exit on the side with a street rather than a bus stop area, and walk across; there is a mall entrance nearby.
Technically you can access the tunnel for amtrak/commuter rail. There is a stairwell that goes from the main lobby to the tunnel, the fare gates are past the stairwell. However it might be easier just to cross Dartmouth street to Copley Place mall.
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Re: MBTA 2022: Taking Public Transit in Boston

Post by Elli21486 »

Not sure if the Charlie Ticket system completely converted to the tap feature throughout the entire MBTA network. Due to this, here is a little hint:

If you get a Charlie Ticket and it has a Black magnetic strip, it is the old kind where you need to insert it into the gate.

If you get a Charlie Ticket and it has a Gray magnetic strip, it is the new kind where you tap it. As far as I know, it will not work at the old gates. You should be able to tell the difference between the old gates and new gates by the tap pad. The new gates have a Circle tap pad while the old gates have a Rectangle tap pad.
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