Key MBTA bus routes

Key MBTA bus routes

Key bus routes in the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) system have high ridership and higher frequency standards than other bus lines. [] Key route service standards include: [MBTA 2006 Service Delivery Policy]
* Operation from 6am to midnight Monday thru Saturday, and 7am to midnight on Sunday.
* 10 minute headways at peak times, and 15-20 minute headways at other times.

In early 2005 the transit agency considered adding the 15 key routes to its subway maps, but this was never implemented due to concerns this would be too confusing. [ [ New Subway Maps, Finally] ] Bus schedules and maps were posted along key routes on signposts and in bus shelters instead. []

In November, 2006, the MBTA launched a concerted effort to improve service quality on these routes.See "Key Bus Routes Improvement Program",]

In April 2008, the MBTA began installing local area maps at subway station exits showing connecting bus routes (both key and other bus routes).

As of 2006, the key routes are the 1, 15, 22, 23, 28, 32, 39, 57, 66, 71, 73, 77, 111, a shared segment of the 116 and 117, Silver Line Washington Street, and Silver Line Waterfont from South Station to Silver Line Way. [2006 Service Delivery Policy, p. 26] The Preliminary 2008 Service Plan proposes upgrading the 31 to key route status.]

Route list


The 1 Harvard-Dudley via Massachusetts Avenue and Boston Medical Center runs mostly along Massachusetts Avenue, from Harvard, past the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, over the Charles River via the Harvard Bridge into Boston, past Berklee College of Music to Boston Medical Center, then southwest to Dudley via Albany Street and Melnea Cass Boulevard.

Limited stop service over most of the route is provided by the CT1.

The 1 Harvard-Dudley via Massachusetts Avenue was formed in September 1962 when two routes, split at Massachusetts Avenue (now Hynes Convention Center), were merged - the 76 Harvard-Massachusetts Station and the 47 Massachusetts Station-Dudley. In May 1987 the route was realigned from its former alignment on Washington Street southeast several blocks onto Albany Street and Melnea Cass Boulevard to serve Boston Medical Center.


The 15 Kane Square-Ruggles via Uphams Corner and Dudley Street runs from Kane Square, several blocks west of Savin Hill, west on Hancock Street and Dudley Street past Uphams Corner to Dudley, continuing west on Malcolm X Boulevard to Roxbury Crossing and north on Tremont Street to Ruggles.

Buses started running on the 15 Kane Square-Dudley via Uphams Corner and Dudley Street on April 6, 1962, replacing trackless trolleys. With the opening of the new Orange Line in May 1987, the route was extended to Ruggles.


The 22 Ashmont-Ruggles via Talbot, Seaver and Jackson Square begins at Ashmont and runs northwest on Talbot Avenue, north on Blue Hill Avenue, and northwest on Seaver Street to the former site of Egleston station. From there it continues north on Columbus Avenue and Tremont Street past two Orange Line stations - Jackson Square and Roxbury Crossing - before ending at another one, Ruggles.

Buses replaced trackless trolleys on the 22 on April 6, 1962, running as the 22 Ashmont-Dudley via Talbot and Warren. This route, rather than turning off Blue Hill Avenue onto Seaver Street, continued north a bit further and then went north on Warren Street to end at Dudley. The opening of the new Orange Line in May 1987 resulted in the realignment to the current route.


The 23 Ashmont-Ruggles via Washington Street (Dorchester), Warren and Dudley has the same endpoints as the 22, but uses a mostly different route. It starts out of Ashmont on Talbot Avenue (Boston), but turns north on Washington Street, following that onto Warren Street to Dudley. From Dudley the 23 heads west on Malcolm X Boulevard to Roxbury Crossing and north on Tremont Street to Ruggles.

Buses replaced trackless trolleys on April 7, 1962 on the 22 Ashmont-Dudley via Washington Street (Dorchester) and Warren. It was extended to Ruggles in May 1987 along with the opening of the new Orange Line.


Route 28 (Mattapan-Ruggles via Dudley Square).

Route 28 began its history as Route 28 Arborway-Mattapan via Cummins Hwy. This route, which paralleled Route 32 to Forest Hills and Arborway and was used during rush hours only, was discontinued in 1981.

Route 29 (Mattapan-Egleston via Blue Hill Ave - Seaver St) handled all service on Blue Hill Avenue until a new version of Route 28 was established in 1987. This new Route 28 served between Mattapan station and the new Orange Line station at Ruggles, and in turn took over all service. Route 29 was relegated to a rush-hours only route, but only to Jackson Square. Late night service does run to Ruggles, but Route 28 handles all service throughout the week.

Until 2003 it operated out of the Bartlett garage; when Arborway opened in 2003, Route 28 was shifted to the Cabot garage.


Route 32 (Forest Hills-Wolcott Sq) runs along Hyde Park Avenue from Forest Hills to Readville, serving Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, and Hyde Park along its route. It runs directly next to the commuter rail tracks from Forest Hills to Readville for its entire route.

Up until 1953, Route 32 was a full-service trolley route from Forest Hills to Cleary Square until it converted to trackless trolleys. In 1958, all trackless trolley services south of Forest Hills were discontinued and replaced by diesel buses. (The trolleys ended in the middle of Hyde Park Ave; however, a loop for the trackless trolleys to turn around was placed on Hyde Park Avenue and Pine St.)

In 1981, the former Route 31 bus route between Mattapan Square and Wolcott Square was consolidated with Route 32 at Cleary Sq to become Route 32 Forest Hills-Wolcott Square. (Route 50, which served Cleary Square and Forest Hills via Roslindale, was rerouted onto River St, Gordon Avenue, Summer St (inbound) and Austin St (outbound) to serve the Summer St Elderly Housing Area (aka Malone Elderly Housing).

Currently, Route 32 is the busiest route on Hyde Park Avenue, and runs all week. On weekdays, it runs every 5-7 minutes during rush hour; even on weekends, the wait is no longer than 10-15 minutes.


The 39 Forest Hills - Back Bay via Huntington Avenue route is the "temporary" replacement for Green Line "E" Branch service from Heath Street to Arborway which has run since December 1985. Aside from paralleling the Green Line from Heath Street to Copley, there are connections to the Orange Line and commuter rail at both of its terminals (and Amtrak at the latter). Route 39 was the first MBTA route to regularly use articulated buses and, until their addition to Route 504 (Watertown-Downtown via Turnpike) in late 2005, was the only route to use them.


The 57 Watertown Yard-Kenmore Station is the replacement for the Green Line "A" Branch service which was discontinued in 1969. Route 57 one of the few routes that runs limited stop service in the Boston city limits.

The service limitations affect the entire Commonwealth Avenue portion of the route. Travelling outbound to Watertown, stops are made only to embark passengers whose destination is beyond Packard's Corner, where normal service resumes. Similarly, inbound travel to Kenmore is restricted to disembarking passengers only after the Packard's Corner stop.


Route 66 starts at Dudley Square in Roxbury, paralleling Route 39 from Brigham Circle to the Boston city limits. Via Harvard Avenue, this bus serves Brookline and Allston before terminating at Harvard Square, Cambridge.


The 71 and 73 are trackless trolley routes, and are covered in the Boston-area trackless trolleys article.


See MBTA buses in East Boston, Chelsea, and Revere#111.


* [ Changes to Transit Service in the MBTA District 1964-Present] (PDF)
*rtspcc, [ New Subway Maps, Finally] , ne.transportation, April 29, 2005
* [ The Boston: Bus-Town Project]

ee also

* List of MBTA bus routes

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