How to Ride the MBTA: The Basics (2024)

How to Ride the MBTA: The Basics (1)

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, more commonly known as the T, is one of the oldest public transit systems in the United States. It's also the largest transit system in Massachusetts.

As a division of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), the MBTA provides subway, bus, Commuter Rail, ferry, and paratransit service to eastern Massachusetts and parts of Rhode Island.

In an effort to reach riders in the MBTA service area, the following information is available in 44 languages.

Our Services and Standard Fares

Subway lines

The Red, Orange, Blue, and Green subway lines provide fast, easy connections to and from Boston and surrounding cities, including Cambridge, Newton, Revere, and Quincy.

Subway one-way:$2.40 with cash, CharlieCard, or CharlieTicket.

View subway schedules and maps

Learn more about subway fares

Bus routes

The MBTA operates 171 bus routes and 4 rapid transit routes in the Greater Boston area, with connections to the subway and Commuter Rail.

Local bus one-way: $1.70 with cash, CharlieCard, or CharlieTicket.

View bus schedules and maps

Learn more about bus fares

Commuter Rail lines

The Commuter Rail connects eastern Massachusetts with transit hubs in Boston, including subway, bus, and Amtrak services.

Commuter Rail one-way: $2.40 – $13.25, depending on how far you travel.

View Commuter Rail schedules and maps

Learn more about Commuter Rail fares

Ferry routes

Boston’s commuter ferry service connects the inner and outer harbor with transport hubs in Boston at the Charlestown Navy Yard and Logan Airport.

Ferry one-way: $3.70 – $9.75, depending on your origin and destination.

View ferry schedules and maps

Learn more about ferry fares

Hours of Operation

Most bus and train service starts at 5 AM and ends at 1 AM, with some bus service on busy routes starting as early as 3:30 AM. Schedules depend on the type of transportation and day of the week.

The service runs more frequently during weekday rush hours (7 – 9 AM and 4 – 6:30 PM) than at other times.

Subway and key bus route service (such as routes 28, 111, 116, and others) is the most frequent, generally running every 10 – 15 minutes or better.

Fare Calculator

Choose your origin and destination to calculate your fare with our Trip Planner.

Reduced Fares

Some riders, including students, young adults with low income, older adults, and people with disabilities, are eligible for reduced fares.Military personnel, people who are legally blind, and children under the age of 11 ride for free.

Learn more about reduced fares

Pass Programs

The T offers several programs for businesses, schools, and groups to place large orders for tickets and passes.

Learn about our pass programs


All MBTA buses are accessible to people with disabilities, as are most subway and Commuter Rail stations. Ferries and docks are accessible, but can have temporary barriers from high or low tides.

Riders can access real-time elevator and escalator outage information by calling 617-222-2828.

Learn more about accessibility on the T


The RIDE is the MBTA’s door-to-door paratransit service. If you have a disability that prevents you from using the MBTA bus, subway, or trolley all or some of the time, The RIDE may be able to assist with your public transportation needs.

Paratransit one-way: $3.35– $5.60

Learn more about The RIDE


Language AssistanceMBTA Customer Support representatives speak English and Spanish, and interpreters are available in 160 languages. The MBTA Transit Police and Transit Ambassadors at stations can help access this service.
Service AlertsDuring service disruptions, the MBTA posts signs or has staff available to help riders at stations. Current and planned service alerts are available on our website. Riders can also sign up for T-Alerts to receive text or email alerts.
Transit PoliceThe Transit Police Department (TPD) has full police powers at all MBTA stations and properties, as well as on vehicles. Please contact them in case of emergency, or call 911.
MBTA-Endorsed AppsThere are a variety of smartphone apps to help you plan trips on the MBTA, buy Commuter Rail tickets, pay for parking, and report safety concerns to the Transit Police.
Customer SupportPlease contact us with questions or concerns about our services, stations, or vehicles.

Sign Up for Service Alerts

How to Ride the MBTA: The Basics (2)

Get service alerts via text or email.

Get Involved

Public input is an important part of developing our projects and making decisions. We encourage riders to attend MBTA public meetings and provide comments on our activities.

Attend a public meeting

Learn More About the T

HistoryLearn more about how the T came to be, from the very first ferry in 1631 all the way through today.
ArtSee where you can spot some of the more than 100 art pieces at T stations throughout the city, and learn how to become one of our featured artists.

More Guides

Our user guides can help you learn how to navigate the system, get to local events, use accessibility features, and more.

View all guides

How to Ride the MBTA: The Basics (2024)
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