Boston is consistently ranked among the most walkable cities in the United States, but you won’t be able to get everywhere by foot. Here is advice on how to get around the city.
We highly encourage all City Year AmeriCorps members to use the MBTA to get around Boston and adjacent towns. The system is the oldest and fourth largest in the nation, serving half of the cities and towns in the Commonwealth.
The transit system includes subways (identified by colors), buses (identified by numbers), the commuter rail serving the greater Boston area, and boat service to the north and south shores. All Boston schools are accessible by subway and/or bus service.
Schedules vary by subway and bus line, with more frequent service during peak morning and evening hours. Bus and subway service begins no earlier than 5am, an important detail when planning where you will live and how you will commute. Schedules for all routes are online and the MBTA’s trip planner is a useful tool to plan your travel between two points.
Several apps provide real-time schedule information for subways and buses. A list can be found on the MBTA’s website. Citymapper and ProximiT are two which are commonly used by City Year corps and staff. We also encourage all members to have the See Say app, a source of safety information and method to report dangerous or suspicious activity while traveling.
Travel on the MBTA requires a Charlie Card or similar pass. As a City Year member, you will be provided with an MBTA pass beginning on September 1. The pass is good for travel on MBTA-operated subways, buses, and the commuter rail. You must be a member in good standing, which includes fulfilling the obligations of a Public Safety Ambassador, to receive this benefit. Lost passes will not be replaced.
Driving in Boston can be challenging. Massachusetts drivers have a reputation for bad habits, and the inconsistent layout of the city doesn’t help matters. If you are bringing a car to Boston, plan ahead to avoid headaches and unnecessary costs.
Parking on most city streets requires a permit, issued by the City. Instructions are online. Note, you are required to provide proof of residency and a valid Massachusetts registration that shows the car is in your name at your Boston address. Resident parking rules vary by neighborhood, including times when streets are cleared for cleaning, so be aware of the rules and restrictions around your home.
Parking at schools is very limited and school faculty have priority. We highly discourage members from driving to service each day. We strongly recommend using public transportation.
For a day of exploring or a year of commuting, Boston’s bike-sharing service, Hubway, is an option. Currently there are 1,600 bikes at 180 stations across Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, and Somerviclle.
Once you become a member, online or with a pass purchased at any Hubway station kiosk, you have access to any available bike nearby. Ride while your pass or membership is active, then return your bike to any station.
Biking is a great way to get exercise and explore the area. Check out a few of their ride suggestions to get started.