The Department

Authority and Jurisdiction

Transit Police Jurisdiction 

The MBTA operates a transit system that dates back to the Boston Elevated Company established in 1894. It is now compromised of 4 subway lines, 13 commuter rail lines, 5 passenger ferry routes and 162 bus routes, covering nearly 3,244 square miles and operating approximately 2,208 vehicles on a daily basis. This vast transportation network is responsible for an average of 1.3 million passenger trips every day, in a community with a daytime population of over two and a half million people.

While the MBTA Transit Police Department has primary jurisdiction on MBTA property and vehicles, MBTA Transit Police Officers have full police authority throughout and within the 175 cities and towns comprising the MBTA service district. Policing responsibility is shared with local cities and towns by means of concurrent jurisdiction and in a few instances through mutual aid agreements.

The MBTA Transit Police Department provides police services to patrons and employees of the authority on MBTA property and vehicles. Having all the powers conferred or imposed upon Police Officers of cities and towns (Chapter 664 of the Acts of 1968), MBTA Transit Police Officers are responsible for the:


- Protection of life and property;:
- Prevention and detection of crime;:
- Arrest, detention and prosecution of violators of the law;:
- Recovery of stolen property; and:
- Preservation of public peace.