When you ask the question of how could you make Boston more livable, exciting, and attractive, one of the most common answers we’ve heard is to not roll up the sidewalks quite so early, especially on the weekends.
This means some things like keeping MBTA service running later into the night, giving residents and visitors more options with restaurants, bars, and cafes, as well as having more food trucks be available where the nightlife is alive—and to help keep it buzzing.
To address these needs, Mayor Martin J. Walsh has taken several steps to help enhance Boston cosmopolitan culture for the enjoyment of both short and long-term residents as well as making Boston a more attractive prospect for businesses.
“Boston is already a mecca for international students, artists, and scientists,” Mayor Walsh said. “We can also be a mecca for international business. We have begun to design a more efficient, transparent, and equitable system for future growth.”
Mayor Walsh created a Late Night Task Force, a diverse group of restaurant and bar owners, to examine how the city can foster a safe and vibrant late-night culture as well as streamlining the permitting process for staying open later. The task force won’t only look at extending bar hours, they will also look at things such as offering 24-hour gyms and other things to do after-hours.
“Our economy is changing and our workforce is changing, and it’s something we need to look at. In a global economy, retaining talent is just as important as recruiting employers,” Mayor Walsh said. “For that reason, an international business hub needs a truly cosmopolitan culture.”
Late Night MBTA Service
Working with Governor Deval Patrick and the MBTA, Mayor Walsh supported the pilot program that began March 28, 2014 with all subway lines, light rail and the 15 key bus routes will run until 2:30 am on Friday and Saturdays.
Late-night service is being subsidized by financial sponsorships from The Boston Globe and other business groups to be named in the coming weeks. Service is expected to cost an estimated $20 million annually (not accounting for offsetting fares or sponsorships). During the pilot program, fares will remain at the same level as those during regular service. In the future, it may be possible to adjust fare prices during the later hours.
According to The Boston Globe, “More than 18,000 people rode the MBTA system during the first weekend of late-night service.”
Food Truck Hours Expanded
On March 14th, Mayor Walsh also announced that residents and visitors in three areas – Copley Square, Boston University, and Northeastern University – now also have new late-night dining options: food trucks.
Mayor Walsh’s Mobile Food Truck Committee, along with input from the Boston Police Department, selected the three food truck sites based on area foot traffic and public safety. Trucks vending at these sites will keep their “doors” open for an extra hour, until midnight, on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
“Food truck owners and customers have been asking for later hours for food trucks, and we’ve been listening,” Mayor Walsh said. “We’ll be looking at this pilot to see if it’s something we can expand to more sites.”
As of April 1, the trucks participating in the late-night pilot are:
BBQ Lamb Brothers
Chicken and Rice Guys
Mediterranean Home Cooking**
The Bacon Truck**
** Trucks that are vending on the public way for the first time.
Pending the success of this program, including feedback from Food Truck owners and customers, as well as other involved City agencies, the Mobile Food Truck Committee will consider expanding this pilot to other appropriate sites throughout Boston.
What can you do to help make Boston’s late night changes take hold in the hub?
• Use the T late on weekends to help show the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that there is an ongoing need for late night service.
• Get a late night meal or snack at one of the participating food trucks.
• Tell your friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues about these exciting new programs and help Boston stay up late!