Using public transportation is the best way to get around Boston. The transportation network in the Boston area is called the MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, or "T" for short). It serves greater Boston as well as most of eastern Massachusetts by commuter rail, commuter boat, buses, and subway.
To plan your journey on the T, go to Rider Tools and insert the address you need to go to.
Most students at MassArt purchase monthly T passes which will cover unlimited travel around the city.
Purchasing the LinkPass will enable unlimited monthly bus and subway travel for $59 (subject to change) per month. If you are living on-campus and do not need to travel every day it may not be worth it to purchase a monthly pass. You will need to visit the MBTA website to determine what is best for you.
You can purchase monthly and single-ride passes at most underground T stations.
Reduced rate T pass information
Each semester the MBTA offers a discount on T passes to MassArt students. We encourage you to purchase your T pass through this program; however the deadlines and information for this purchase are published by the MBTA. Prices vary from semester to semester. We recommend that you visit the MBTA website to determine the type of pass you will need so you are ready when the registration forms become available. Registration materials for the MBTA discount program will always be included in the weekly Student E-News. Please be diligent in checking your MassArt email if you are interested in receiving this information.
**Please note that the MBTA does not accept late registrations for T passes**
MassArt advocates for the use of bicycles and other forms of environmentally safe transportation. Public Safety is available to answer any general questions you might have about biking in Boston. Please be sure to review important information about biking to MassArt prior to making any purchases.
Here are some options for places to buy or rent bikes in Boston:
The best way to get to know Boston is to just walk around! Take a day and look at the amazing architecture, walk through the public gardens, explore Quincy Market, and stroll along the Charles River and Waterfront. You will find that Boston is a really beautiful city. It is small enough that you can walk the whole city in a day, but big enough for you to never get bored. Boston By Foot offers useful information on walking tours as well as maps for finding your way around the city on foot.
Exploring areas inside Boston
There are many popular areas in and around Boston that students enjoy going to explore. Newbury Street is famous for designer clothing stores, restaurants, and boutique shops. Copley Square has the Boston Public Library and Trinity Church, two of the oldest and most beautiful buildings in Boston. The Public Gardens are famous for the swan boats and vibrant and peaceful gardens, a nice place to go and relax at any time of year. Downtown Crossing/Park Street area is a great place to shop, eat, see a movie and just hang out. Quincy Market (also known as Faneuil Hall) is a cobble stone outdoor and indoor street market with shops and restaurants. Long Wharf water front is a pretty place to sit, look at the harbor and watch the boats come in. The ferries to visit the Boston Harbor Islands also leave from Long Wharf. Harvard Square is another great place to shop, explore, and listen to street musicians play. It is also the home of Harvard University. A short walk from Harvard Square is the Charles River, a beautiful place to take a walk particularly when the weather is nice. There are many other areas to explore in Boston, and these are just a few of them.
To get to:
Newbury Street-take the Green Line to Copley Square T stop and walk one block over to Newbury Street
Copley Square-take the Green Line to Copley Square T stop. When you exit, you will see the Boston Public Library and Trinity Church.
Quincy Market-take the Green Line to Government Center T stop. When you exit, you will be on City Hall Plaza where you will walk down all the steps and proceed to cross the street. Directly in front of you is Quincy Market.
Long Wharf-take the Green line to Government Center and follow the directions to Quincy Market. Walk all the way through Quincy market to the end and pass beneath the underpass (near the Gap and Ann Taylor) to cross the road. You will see a park across the street. Once you cross the street, you will see Long Wharf Marriot and the waterfront. This is long wharf area.
Public Gardens-take the green line to Arlington St and cross Arlington St to enter the side of the Public Gardens. You can walk through the gardens and cross Charles St. to enter the Boston Commons on the other side. Then Cross the Commons to arrive near Park St or Boylston T stops.
Park Street/Downtown Crossing-take the Green Line to Park St, or the Orange or Red lines to Downtown Crossing.
Harvard Square/Charles River-take the red line to Harvard Square stop. If you're coming from MassArt, you can change from the Green line to the Red Line at Park Street T stop. To walk to the Charles river from Harvard Square, cross the street where you exit the T and follow JFK street (towards the Pizzeria Uno's and Pete's Coffee) all the way to the end. You will see the river and the walking paths at the end of the street.
Exploring areas outside Boston
The commuter rails run to many of the surrounding areas of Boston. However, if you'd like to venture further it is best to look into taking a bus or train. Greyhound Buses and Amtrak Trains leave from South Station in downtown Boston. There are also several private bus companies that offer competitive rates to many places including New York City and Washington DC.
- Bolt Bus (leaves from South Station)
- Fung Wah Bus (leaves from South Station)
- Lucky Star (leaves from South Station
- Mega Bus (leaves from Back Bay which is closer to MassArt then South Station)
You do not need a car to get around Boston and we recommend that all students use public transportation. If you do decide to purchase a car, you will face a complicated process of choosing insurance and getting the car registered and the rates to insure a car in Boston are among the highest in the United States. We do not recommend purchasing a car while you are here; it is not necessary and Boston is a notoriously difficult city to drive in.
Car rental is also a difficult option for many students due a restriction that drivers must be 25 years of age or older to rent from most companies. Some companies will rent to younger drivers but add a large surcharge in addition to the rental rate. We recommend you look into all other options for travel before deciding to rent a car.
If you do decide to drive while you are here, you will need to check with the Massachusetts Department of Motor Vehicles to ensure that you are eligible to drive here legally and to determine what documents you need to show to obtain a Massachusetts license (also see section on Identification).
Taxis are an expensive way of getting around Boston but at times they can be quicker than taking public transportation. It is a good idea to ask the driver what he/she thinks the approximate price will be prior to accepting a ride. Beware of any unmarked cars that pretend to be taxis-they are not taxis! Real taxis will state the name of the company on the outside and the driver will have a taxi license displayed inside the car. In addition, he/she will have a meter which will remain on throughout the ride to determine the fare.
Here are some of the many taxi companies in Boston:
If you are involved in an accident using any form of transportation (including walking and biking), it is recommended that you go to the hospital to get checked out even if you do not think you are hurt. This is very important because injuries from accidents can arise days and even weeks after the accident occurs. Also, if possible, make sure to write down as much information as you can if you are involved in an accident: license plate number(s), names, phone numbers, driver's license numbers, time and date the accident occurred, descriptions of what happened, etc. You may need to file an accident report with the police department or an insurance company and all of this information can be used later.