Main Streets free public transit pilot
Note: Registration for the pilot program is now closed. If you have submitted an application, our staff will review it and will get back to you over the next few weeks. If you are an essential worker you may qualify for free Bluebikes passes.
This pilot program will be phased over the next two months. Some people will be randomly selected to get an MBTA pass with the full $60 right away. Others will get two cards after four weeks with values that add up to $60.
Bluebikes pass-holders will be able to take as many trips as they like during the two-month period. Trips must be completed within 45 minutes to avoid usage fees. Riders are responsible for any fees and for bikes that go missing during their rental period. There is no obligation to continue paying for the pass once the two months are over.
The pilot supports COVID-19 equitable recovery efforts. We will evaluate the pilot to see if it could help reduce traffic in small business districts.
Why should employees in Nubian Square, Three Squares (Jamaica Plain), Mission Hill, East Boston, and Fields Corner sign up for the pilot program?
- All five pilot Main Streets Districts are served by either an MBTA subway line or Bluebikes. All employees in the selected Main Streets are within walking distance of a Bluebikes station, bus route, and subway line. They can take a bus or subway line or use a Bluebikes station without having to worry about maintenance or carrying a lock.
- The MBTA and Bluebikes are safe, sustainable commuting options. Congestion is expected to increase post-COVID. It's a big issue for Main Streets small businesses. The program incentivizes a safe and sustainable alternative to driving to work.
- Fewer Main Streets employees driving means more space on the curb for driving customers. Employees who drive often park on the curb for long periods of time. Providing employees with a sustainable alternative means those spaces are freed up for customers.
Common questionsCommon questions
Yes! The MBTA has taken precautions to make stations, subways, and buses safe for riders. All MBTA locations are disinfected every 24 hours. All high-contact areas at subway stations — handrails, fare gates, and fare vending machines — are cleaned every four hours. In addition, hand sanitizing dispensers, disinfectant wipes, and cleaning sprays have been deployed at MBTA facilities and stations throughout the system. There is also a systemwide mask mandate on all MBTA vehicles and property.
You can learn more about how the MBTA is protecting your health.
Registration for the pilot program is now closed. If you have submitted an application, our staff will review it and will get back to you over the next few weeks. If you are eligible, we will mail you your CharlieCard at the address you specify. If you choose a Bluebikes pass, you’ll receive instructions to enroll at the Bluebikes website. You will need to enter a valid credit or debit card number. You will be charged for any incidental fees. These include, for example, overtime fees for trips longer than 45 minutes.
We are working on expanding this pilot to other Main Streets Districts.
Participants will be randomly selected to receive different values on their CharlieCards. This will help us determine how impactful financial incentives are on commuting behavior. You will receive the remaining $55 in a few weeks on a new CharlieCard. In the meantime, please use the current CharlieCard for all trips you take until you receive the next card.
Yes! You can add more money on the CharlieCard we send you at an MBTA station with a fare box.
Bluebikes is public transportation by bike! With nearly 4,000 bikes and 400 stations, it's a fast, fun, and affordable way to get around:
- Somerville, and
With a Bluebikes pass, you can check out a bike from any station and return to any other station throughout the service area.
The Bluebikes stations are distributed throughout the metro Boston area. Trips must start and end at stations. But, you can ride anywhere where bikes are allowed in between stations. The first 45-minutes of each trip are covered by your pass. If you ride on the same bike for longer, overtime fees will apply (like late library books!).
After successful registration, you will be able to unlock bikes at any station. You can use the mobile app or dip your credit or debit card into the kiosk.
Return the bike to any Bluebikes station. If the station is full, you can request a free 15-minute extension at the kiosk and head to another station nearby.
Be sure to push the bike into an empty dock. Wait until you get the green light to be sure it is locked properly. You are responsible for returning the bike properly to a station. Fees apply if you do not.
The program is free if you keep every trip to 45 minutes or less and make sure you lock your bike at a station at the end of every trip. Trips longer than 45 minutes will incur an extra $2.00 per additional 30 minutes.