MBTA at a Glance
Welcome to the MBTA
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) is the public agency responsible for affordable public transportation in the Greater Boston Area, which includes Boston and many neighboring cities and towns. The MBTA runs four types of transportation: Subway, Bus, Commuter Rail, and Ferry.
The Subway, known as “the T,” is the fastest way to get around central Boston and surrounding towns. There are four lines: Red (with two branches: Ashmont, which connects to the Mattapan trolley, and Braintree), Green (with four branches: B, C, D, and E), Orange, and Blue. Line directions are referred to as “inbound” if the train is moving towards a downtown transfer station (Park Street, Downtown Crossing, State Street, and Government Center), or “outbound” if it is traveling away from them. Learn more and find schedule timetables by clicking on a Subway line here.
Most Subway stops have stations equipped with fare vending machines where you may purchase your fare. Some stops on the T (most above-ground Green Line stops and the Ashmont-Mattapan branch of the Red Line) do not have stations or fare vending machines. If you board the T at one of these stops, you may pay your fare on-board with cash. Get more information on Subway fares.
Buses serve many communities, connecting them to the rest of the MBTA network. Buses can run as frequently as every 7 minutes. Learn more about Bus schedules here.
You may purchase your fare on-board with cash if you do not have a preloaded CharlieCard or CharlieTicket. Transfers from Subway to Bus or Bus to Bus are free, while transfers from Bus to Subway require paying the difference between fares. You must use a CharlieCard or CharlieTicket in both instances in order to benefit from free transfers. Get more information on Bus fares here.
The Silver Line is a Bus Rapid Transit System with four lines (SL1, SL2, SL4, and SL5) that serves the South End and Seaport. It is also the preferred way for riders to get from Logan Airport to downtown Boston at South Station which is a hub for the Commuter Rail and Subway systems. Get more information on Silver Line fares here.
The Commuter Rail connects surrounding cities and towns to downtown Boston with less frequent, longer distance trains. Eight of the lines arrive at South Station (with connections to the Red and Silver Lines), while the other four arrive at North Station (with connections to the Green and Orange Lines). Click here to see the Commuter Rail system map and schedules. Tickets from downtown Boston must be purchased from a fare vending machine or on the mTicket App, available for iPhone and Android. Tickets may also be purchased on-board at some stops. But, if you do so from a stop with a fare vending machine, there is an additional fee. Get more information on Commuter Rail fares here.
In addition to regularly scheduled trips to the suburbs, the Commuter Rail operates season-specific routes to accommodate special events such as:
Gillette Stadium for New England Patriots games
Salem, MA for Halloween
Cape Cod in the summer
The MBTA operate the Ferry from Downtown Boston to Logan Airport, Charlestown, Hingham, and Hull. Find schedules, fares, and more information on the Ferry here.
Getting to and from Logan Airport
The MBTA is the fastest and cheapest way to get from Logan Airport into Boston, with connections to the Blue Line (via shuttle bus 55) and the Silver Line to South Station (with connections to Red Line and Commuter Rail). Learn more here.
Many Commuter Rail and Subway stations have parking garages so you can leave your car behind, stay out of traffic, and avoid parking downtown. Learn more about which stations have parking and how much it costs.
The MBTA is committed to making the system as accessible as possible for people with disabilities. All stations on the Orange and Blue Lines are wheelchair accessible, in addition to most stations on the Red Line (except Wollaston and Valley Road) and some Green Line and Commuter Rail stations. Review the system map to see which stations near you are accessible. All buses, including the Silver Line, are also accessible. If you are a resident of the Boston area, learn more about THE RIDE paratransit services.