Nearly two years after canceling its special late-night weekend bus and train service, the MBTA is asking for proposals to run bus service daily from 1 a.m. to 4:15 a.m. from Mattapan to Chelsea starting in July.
“We’re trying to see what the appetite is to provide this service, what the cost of the service would be, and then we’ll try to make a thoughtful decision about what’s a sustainable financial model for night bus service that’s also consistent with kind of our previous actions around what’s financially sustainable for the T,” MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board member Steve Poftak told reporters on Monday.
The T wants a vendor who can provide vehicles, drivers, and supervision for a pilot program of overnight bus service, according to a request for responses issued Friday. The pilot would create “24-hour service for MBTA customers,” the MBTA wrote in a solicitation, saying the planned route “runs from Mattapan through Downtown Boston to East Boston to Chelsea.”
WGBH reported on the solicitation Monday morning.
In February 2016, the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board decided to cancel its extended weekend service because of declining popularity, high costs, and competing needs to perform track work during the overnight hours.
Bids are due Feb. 14 and the contract would run one year starting July 1 with two one-year extension options, according to the solicitation, which noted the service would be evaluated after nine months.
During the pilot period the service would be operated without fare collection, according to the solicitation.
“So we’re looking forward to getting responses but we’ll have to see what comes in,” said Poftak.