LibrePlanet: Conference/2012/Getting-around-Boston

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Public transportation in Boston is run by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). The public transportation system (buses, subways, trolleys, ferries) are collectively referred to as 'The T' and is easily recognized by the T logo.


All MBTA services accept at least two forms of payment: CharlieCard and CharlieTicket.

If you are travelling from out of town, the CharlieTicket $15 pass is good value, and lasts for seven days.

Both CharlieCards and CharlieTickets can hold funds which can be used on any bus or subway line. You can use cash, credit or debit cards to add funds to your CharlieCard or to purchase a new CharlieTicket.

A single journey on the MBTA subway costs $1.70 on a CharlieCard or $2.00 for CharlieTicket. Many of the buses also accept cash.

  • The CharlieCard is a credit card sized plastic card that uses RFID technology allowing you to 'tap' to enter a turnstile. Be sure to keep your CharlieCard in a piece of foil, or RFID-blocking wallet.
  • The CharlieTicket is a cardboard ticket with a magnetic stripe. You must feed the ticket into a turnstile to enter.

More information on CharlieCards and CharlieTickets is available.

Conference location

The peculiarities of JFK/U Mass station

  • The MBTA Red Line splits at JFK/U Mass -- please bear in mind that when heading back into downtown Boston, there are trains going on both sides of the station. Wait upstairs for a bell to announce which platform the train will leave from, and follow the horde of people rushing for the train.
  • The station is also home to a commuter rail station on the Old Colony Lines to Kingston/Plymouth and Middleborough/Lakeville.
  • Lastly, getting to the campus requires you to take a short shuttle bus ride. Take this bus from the soda machines outside the station after crossing the bridge - this is Route 2 (second stop along facing the T station), run by Crystal Transport - every 20 minutes on Saturday and Sunday and get off at the first stop


  • Red Line: Take the Red Line to JFK/U Mass, which is a short shuttle bus from the campus - route 2 buses run by Crystal Transport -- you should get off the shuttle at first stop - Campus Center (large white & glass building).
  • Blue Line: Take the Blue Line to Government Center, transfer to the Green Line in the direction of Boston College (B), Cleveland Circle (C), Riverside (D) or Heath Street (E) and then follow directions above from the Green Line.


DATTCO buses provides daily service from South Station to Taunton and New Bedford, MA.


The closest airport is Boston Logan International Airport (BOS).

There are two options to get from the airport to the JFK/Umass stop:

  • Blue Line -- from any terminal, look for the shuttle bus to Airport Station. The MBTA Blue Line will take you to downtown Boston in a few minutes, and you can transfer to the Red Line.
  • Silver Line -- from any airport terminal, look for signs for the Silver Line T stop. Take the Silver Line bus to the South Station stop on the Red Line. From there, follow the directions for the subway to JFK/Umass station -- both Braintree and Ashmont bound trains head here.