Winter Travel Guide
Long before the first snowflake falls each year, MBTA employees are getting our salt silos, plows, and winter boots ready to clear tracks, stations, and parking lots.
In the meantime, here are some ways you can get ready for a snowy commute.
Planning Your Winter Commute
Plan ahead for your commute by checking alerts on our website and on Twitter.
If you can avoid traveling during winter storms, we recommend doing so. This helps us, and the many other road crews around the state, clear the rails and roadways for safe travel.
Get up-to-the-minute service changes delivered via email or text with T-Alerts.
What to Expect During a Storm
Snow, ice, wind, and debris are the main causes for delays and disruptions to MBTA service during winter.
On rare occasions, the Governor may issue a state of emergency or travel ban, which can impact the level of MBTA service available. If this happens, we will update our website and Twitter with related service changes.
Extreme cold, heavy snow, and ice can impact train service during storms. Routes that run at street level, like the Green Line and Mattapan Trolley, are more likely to be delayed.
While our crews and staff work to clear snow and ice, we may run trains at reduced schedules or slower speeds. This is safer for everyone and prevents damage to trains and equipment.
On rare occasions, service may be suspended or replaced with shuttle buses.
All delays and schedule changes are detailed in system alerts, available on our website, on Twitter, and via text or email.
Did you know? We use a lot of different equipment to keep stations and tracks clear, including the jet-powered Snowzilla. We also have heaters along Red and Orange Line tracks and special de-icing trains for all subway lines.
Bus service may operate on reduced schedules or adjusted routes due to snow or ice. For the safety of customers and staff, buses may operate at reduced speeds.
During a storm, buses will run on either of the following schedules:
Regular Schedule: Buses operating with normal service.
Storm Schedule: Buses operating with reduced service, similar to Saturday service.
Schedules are adjusted on a route-by-route basis.
Some buses run on alternate routes to avoid narrow streets and steep hills. If your bus operates with a snow route, it is indicated on the PDF schedule, which is available on our website or from your bus driver.
Schedule and Route Alerts
All route and schedule variations are detailed in all system alerts, available on our website, on Twitter, and via text or email.
The MBTA is responsible for clearing snow and ice from stops on 15 key bus routes and the Silver Line within 24 hours after snowfall ends. Municipalities are responsible for clearing all other stops.
You can report an uncleared bus stop to the MBTA or the municipality responsible for the stop.
Did you know? If you regularly ride any of the 15 key bus routes or the Silver Line, and you sign up for T-Alerts, we’ll send you an “All Clear” message when all the stops along your route have been shoveled.
Service on the Commuter Rail may be impacted by extreme cold, heavy snow, and ice. Sometimes, service may be disrupted if tree limbs or electric wires fall on the tracks.
During and immediately after severe weather, trains will operate on one of the following schedule types:
Regular Schedule: Trains operating with normal service.
Storm Schedule: Trains operating with modified service. Storm schedules are available on each Commuter Rail line page, and from staff at North, South, and Back Bay stations.
No Service: Service suspended. This happens on rare occasions.
All schedule changes are detailed in system alerts, available on our website, on Twitter, and via text or email.
Did you know? During extreme weather, we deploy as many as 450 crew members to clear Commuter Rail tracks and stations. Crews use a variety of equipment, including a snow plow train and the jet-powered Snowzilla.
Ferry service may be suspended or delayed in the event of snow, ice, or wind.
If you usually take the ferry to downtown Boston, try one of these alternate routes:
Winter weather may impact driving conditions, and drivers may not be able to access locations that aren’t shoveled or plowed.
Before and during storms, you can call The RIDE Access Center (TRAC) for information about delays or cancellations for any trips you have scheduled.
During and after storms, crews work to keep MBTA parking lots clear. Sometimes, large snow banks may reduce the number of spaces available. Cars parked outside of designated spaces or left overnight maybe ticketed or towed.
You can check parking availability at popular lots and garages on Twitter, @MBTA_Parking.
If you have concerns about snow or ice at any of our facilities, please contact Customer Support.
If your subway line is disrupted, local buses, another subway line, or the Commuter Rail may be an alternative to getting downtown. While we still recommend avoiding travel during extreme weather, here are some common alternate routes to Boston.
Please note that depending on the severity of the storm, the routes listed here may be impacted. Always plan ahead by checking for current service alerts and changes.
- Route 77 to Porter Square, transfer to Fitchburg Line
- Route 80 or 87 to Lechmere, transfer to the Green Line
- From Davis:
- From Porter:
- Route 47, 66, 69, or CT2, connect to the Green Line
- Route 86 to Sullivan Square, transfer to the Orange Line
- Route 1, connect to Green Line at Hynes Convention Center or Orange Line at Massachusetts Ave
- From Braintree: Kingston/Plymouth Line to South Station
- From Quincy Center:
- From Malden Center: Haverhill Line to North Station
- Route 411 to Wonderland, transfer to the Blue Line
- Route 97 or 99 to Wellington, transfer to the Orange Line
- Route 104 or 105 to Sullivan, transfer to Route 93 or the Orange Line
- From Wellington:
- From Sullivan Square: Route 92 or 93 to Downtown Boston
- Route 59 to Needham Heights, transfer to Needham Line
- Route 558 to downtown Boston (weekdays only)
- Route 60 to Kenmore, transfer to the Green Line
If your normal Commuter Rail route is suspended and you need to travel into the city, please use our Trip Planner to plan an alternate route.