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Commuter Rail Access Guide

More from Accessibility

Use the following resources to plan a fully accessible trip on the MBTA.

commuter rail train south station

The MBTA Commuter Rail serves the Greater Boston area, Central Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, and offers a variety of accessible features to help you travel throughout the area.

commuter rail level boarding platform

Key train and station features include:

  • Elevators, ramps, and escalators for station access
  • High-level or mini-high platforms for level boarding
  • Tactile warning strips
  • Mobile bridge plates to span the gap between the train and the platform
  • Seating areas for customers who use wheeled mobility devices
  • Audio and digital announcements of train arrivals, departures, and track info at stations
  • Onboard audio stop announcements

Planning Your Trip

customer service working with asl interpreter

Most Commuter Rail stations are accessible. To ensure an accessible trip on the MBTA, you can use any of the following tools:

Fares and Passes

customers buying commuter rail tickets

Seniors and people with disabilities may qualify for reduced Commuter Rail fares. To receive a Senior CharlieCard, a Transportation Access Pass (TAP), or a Blind Access Card, you must apply through the CharlieCard Store.  

If you are older than 65, you can also show the conductor a valid, government-issued ID to pay a reduced fare price on the Commuter Rail. 

Learn more about reduced fare programs

You can also show the conductor a TAP card from a Massachusetts or Rhode Island Regional Transit Authority to pay a reduced Commuter Rail fare. 

Learn more about Regional Transit Authorities

What You Can Expect at an MBTA Commuter Rail Station

MBTA Commuter Rail stations are marked with a large “T” logo and purple signs with the station name.

departures board at north station

At larger terminals like North Station and South Station, train lines don't always board on the same track. About 10-15 minutes before the train’s scheduled departure, you can find the track number on the departure board. The station agent will also announce the track number over the loudspeaker.

Conductor assisting customer with guide dog

If you need assistance finding the correct platform or train, MBTA staff members are available at North Station, South Station, and Back Bay Station to help you find your platform or buy tickets for your trip.

Boarding Commuter Rail Trains

There are 3 types of platforms at Commuter Rail stations: full high-level, mini high-level, and low-level platforms.

At both full high-level and mini high-level platforms, the conductor can deploy a bridge plate (upon request) to span the gap between the train and the platform.

customer boarding commuter with bridge plate

Full high-level platform

Full high-level platforms allow for level boarding at all cars of the train.

level boarding platform at south station

Mini high-level platform

Mini high-level platforms allow for level boarding at 2 cars of the train.

Mini high-level platforms will typically be connected to low-level platforms by a ramp. Position yourself on the mini-high platform before the train arrives and the operator will assist you.

commuter rail mini-high platform at readville

Low-level platforms

Some stations only have low-level platforms, and customers are required to climb 3-4 steps to board the train.

Always check station accessibility features before you start your trip.

On Board the Commuter Rail

The conductor may ask for your destination stop to ensure you can safely exit the train at that station. They may also tell you which car you need to be in to exit. 

Paying Your Fare

The conductor will verify your fare as they walk through the train car. If you don't already have a ticket or pass, you can pay your fare in cash on board on the train.

conductor validating commuter rail fare

Priority Seating

commuter rail priority seating

Priority seating is available near every train door. Designated seating areas are available for customers who use wheeled mobility devices. Customers are expected to yield priority seats to seniors and people with disabilities, but cannot be forced to move.

Stop Announcements

Each station along the route will be announced by an automated system or by the conductor. If you aren’t sure where your stop is or which car to exit from, the conductor can help you.

Exiting Commuter Rail Trains

customer with wmd exiting commuter rail at level boarding platform

Some Commuter Rail stations are designated as “flag stops,” which means that the train will not automatically stop at them. You will need to tell the conductor you wish to exit there. If there are any flag stops along your route, the conductor will make an announcement prior to the train’s arrival at that station.

If your destination requires the use of a mini-high platform to exit the train, the conductor will deploy a bridge plate.

Upon request, the conductor can deploy a bridge plate to span the gap between the train and the platform.


Taking the Commuter Rail for the first time?

Learn more about schedules, maps, and navigating our train stations.

Check out our Commuter Rail Guide for Beginners