It’s T Time! Tips for Riding the Green Line and Beyond

How do I get a ticket? Can I bring my bike? Is the system accessible?

Read complete coverage of the opening of the new Medford/Tufts Green Line station.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) subway system, more commonly referred to as the T, is one of the most convenient ways to get around—and with the new Green Line station opening at Tufts University on December 12, this has never been truer. Here are some tips to help you get rolling:

1. Get a CharlieCard

There are three ways to pay for rides on the T: Cash, CharlieTickets, and CharlieCards. While a CharlieTicket is well suited for visitors, CharlieCards can be a better long-term option. These reusable cards have a reduced cost and are available for purchase at fare vending machines in a variety of subway stations. With these, you can purchase seven-day unlimited passes, monthly passes, or cash value. You can easily tap into bus stations and subways with these options, but they aren’t valid on the Commuter Rail (you must purchase separate Commuter Rail passes).

In addition, please visit the Student Life website for information about how actively matriculated students at Medford/Somerville/SMFA campuses can purchase discounted passes. Employees also have access to many commuter benefits, including discounted MBTA passes. For community members on the Boston/Grafton/Health Sciences campuses, visit the MBTA Passes for Health Science Students webpage for discounted pass program details. For more information regarding employee commuter benefits, visit the Commuter Benefits webpage.

2. Familiarize Yourself with Each Line

The T has a total of five lines, each color-coded based on which parts of the city it runs through: Blue, Green, Orange, Red, and Silver. All of them operate seven days a week, and most trains run from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. MBTA stations will have inbound and outbound trains—this refers to the direction in which the trains are traveling. Inbound trains approach Boston Common stations while outbound trains travel away from them. A myriad of attractions can be found on each line. Here are some highlights:

Blue Line: New England Aquarium, Belle Isle Marsh Reservation, Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, the Museum of African American History, and Revere Beach

Green Line: Boston Common, Charles River Esplanade, Symphony Hall, Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Science, Fenway Park, TD Garden, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Orange Line: North End, Faneuil Hall, Chinatown, Tufts Medical Center, Haymarket, and City Hall Plaza

Red Line: State House, Beacon Hill, Boston Common, Children’s Museum, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Museum, and the Boston Harborwalk

Silver Line: Logan Airport, Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, and Boston’s World Trade Center

3. Mind Your Manners: Learn Train Etiquette

While waiting to board a train, the MBTA advises in its list of Rules and Regulations not to immediately enter when the doors open—instead, let other passengers exit first. To make room, especially during rush hour, when you board, move as far away from the doors as possible and only take one seat. Offer your seat when there aren’t any others available to seniors and disabled people. For students, take off your backpack and set it in your lap or on the floor to help save space.

Pets are allowed on the T, but dogs must always be leashed and sit on the floor. Animals other than dogs, like cats and rabbits, are allowed on the T, but must be housed in pet carriers.  (Read more from the MBTA.)

4. Use the MBTA’s Trip Planner

One of the fastest ways to plan a trip on the T is by using the MBTA’s Trip Planner. Simply enter from where you’re departing, your destination, and the date of your trip to get suggestions on routes.

5. Download the Transit App

Download the Transit app from the Apple Store or Google Play to plan your trips all in one place. You can use the app to find the nearest T station, see what time the next train is arriving, and navigate to your destination with step-by-step instructions.

6. Know How the T Is Accessible

Most T stations are accessible for disabled people, and the MBTA offers trip planning assistance if needed. Additionally, disabled people may be eligible for reduced fares. To ensure your trip is accessible, there are a few options. First, you can visit the MBTA’s subway station list and find stations marked with the International Symbol of Accessibility (or the “wheelchair symbol”). You could also use the Trip Planner and select “Wheelchair accessible” so that you’ll receive only accessible travel suggestions. MBTA Customer Support will also help plan your trip over the phone as long as you have a starting location, destination, and date and time of travel. They can be reached at 617-222-3200. For more information about accessibility on the T, read their accessibility access guide here.

7. Learn About Bike Rules

Can I bring my bike on the T? While bikes are never allowed on the Green Line or Mattapan Trolley, bikes are otherwise permitted on many lines, including on weekends—but not during rush hour. Bikes are not allowed on the T during the hours of 7–10 a.m. and 4–7 p.m. Also, bikes aren’t allowed on at the Park Street, Downtown Crossing, or Government Center stations. If you’re taking the bus, you can bring your bike by putting it on the bike rack at the front of the vehicle (each can carry two bikes). If you’re bringing your bike on trains where and when bikes are allowed, you can use the elevator to get to the platform or carry it down the stairs, but you aren’t allowed to ride your bike inside the station. Visit the MBTA’s website for all rules on bikes.

Read complete coverage of the opening of the new Medford/Tufts Green Line station.

Back to Top