Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority

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Beginning with a family-operated ferry service, Boston has nurtured many forms of mass transportation, right up to today's most sophisticated mass transit vehicles. The Hub's transit system is the oldest and fourth largest in the nation has a history longer than that of American independence.

Mass transportation first emerged in the city in 1631, when Boston was a peninsula connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of land which is now the South End. With no bridges and only limited access to the mainland, transporting freight by ox cart from Winnisimet (Chelsea) to Boston was a two day journey through Malden, Cambridge, Brighton, and Roxbury. People traveled within the city on foot, and rarely went beyond its borders; for most could not afford horses and wagons.

In terms of daily ridership, the MBTA remains the nation's 5th largest mass transit system. It serves a population of 4,667,555 (2000 census) in 175 cities and towns with an area of 3,244 square miles. To carry out its mission it maintains 183 bus routes, 2 of which are Bus Rapid Transit lines, 3 rapid transit lines, 5 streetcar (Central Subway/Green Line) routes, 4 trackless trolley lines and 13 commuter rail routes. Its roster of equipment consists of 927 diesel and CNG buses, 32 dual mode buses, 28 ETB′s (electric trolley buses), 408 heavy rail vehicles, 200 light rail vehicles, 10 PCC's streetcars, 83 commuter rail locomotives, 410 commuter rail coaches and 298 MBTA-owned specially equipped vans and sedans, and an additional 235 contractor-supplied specially equipped vans and sedans. The average weekday ridership for the entire system is approximately 1.1 million passenger trips.

The MBTA can look back on a tradition of three hundred years of continuous mass transportation services. From the earliest beginnings to the present, the MBTA can be proud of its long tradition of innovation and progress. While claiming to be America's oldest subway, it still remains the vibrant life stream of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts.

T Projects: The latest information on MBTA improvements and expansion projects.

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Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
10 Park Plaza, Suite 3910
Boston, MA 02116
United States

617-222-3200, 800-392-6100

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