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Boston Travel/Transportation

InscrutableGamerInscrutableGamer IDLE ACCOUNTRegistered User regular
edited November 2013 in PAX East
So, now that passes for PAX East 2014 are sold out, and I was lucky enough to snag a few for the first time in years (Friday and Sunday), I thought it was only fair that I do my part to help people coming to PAX this year, especially those coming for the first time. I am a native of the Greater Boston area, and I've been planning obsessively for how I am going to get to and from PAX - I know the entire transit system like the back of my hand. While the MBTA may not be as confusing as systems in other cities (I'm looking at you, London) it can be very intimidating for someone unfamiliar with it. I will be covering how to get to PAX based on plane travel, train from the south, and train from the north - from the perspective of Bostonians, "north" refers to Maine and Canada.
First, a note: your ultimate destination as a waypoint to get to PAX is South Station. South Station is essentially Boston's equivalent of Grand Central, and is only a 5 to 10 minute walk to the BCEC. However, due to the convention taking place in early April, you may opt for an even shorter taxi ride. South Station offers plenty of food, ranging from the quality of McDonald's to an Au Bon Paine. There are also various newsstands. You may want to consider using South Station as a jumping point to get to PAX, your hotel, or to anything else in Boston you want to see.

FLYING IN
If you live so far away from Boston that a plane is the only logical way to get there, you may want to take a few moments prior to your flight in order to understand the layout of Boston Logan International Airport - its complexity rivals that of the entire transit system, and explaining the layout of the airport would be another thread in and of itself. That being said, once you've obtained your luggage and (hopefully) your bearings, you're going to want to look for signs that point to the MBTA or, as we call it, the "T" - the logo is literally a solid black T on a white square. The Airport subway station is not on the grounds of the airport; however, the Department of Transportation has regular shuttles between the terminals of the airport and the station. Once you get to the station, you'll want to get on a Blue Line train headed for Bowdoin. Get off the train at State, and proceed to the Orange Line platform. From there, get on an Orange Line train headed for Forest Hills, and get off one stop later at Downtown Crossing. Finally, switch to the Red Line and get on a train headed for Braintree. Take it one stop forward, and get off at South Station.

TRAIN FROM THE NORTH
You will most likely come in to North Station, which is (appropriately) in the northern part of the city. From North Station, take an Orange Line train headed for Forest Hills to Downtown Crossing, and from there take a Red Line Braintree train to South Station.

TRAIN FROM THE SOUTH
95% of trains from "south" of Boston come into South Station to begin with, but if you're in that other 5%, you may end up in this not-so-nice place called Back Bay. In all honesty, the station is pretty nice, but for our purposes, it is not where we want to be. From Back Bay, there are two ways to South Station: the expensive and nice way, or the slightly cheaper and slightly less nice way. The "nice" way is grabbing a Commuter Rail schedule (that's the local surface rail) and figuring out when a train will come along to take you to South Station. Because Back Bay and South Station are in Transit Zone 1A, fare should only be $2 (careful though! - the price is higher if you buy the ticket on board!). The Commuter Rail is a nice option if you just want a nice, quiet, warm ride just to collect yourself for maybe ten minutes before entering the chaos that is South Station. In fact, the Commuter Rail trains are probably quieter and smoother than the Amtrak or Acela train you took in the first place! The "less than nice" way is to get on an Orange Line train headed for Oak Grove, and get off at Downtown Crossing. From Downtown Crossing, switch to a Red Line train headed for Braintree, and then get off at South Station.

THE LAYOUT OF SOUTH STATION, AND GETTING FROM THERE TO BCEC
As I said earlier, South Station is Boston's equivalent of Grand Central. However, it's about a million times less chaotic and, if you happen to live in NYC and are familiar with Grand Central, will probably be a breath of fresh air. There are plenty of seats and tables, and as I said earlier, newsstands and various kiosks dot the mezzanine floor. The mezzanine and food court is shaped almost like a funnel, with the wide end opening to the Commuter Rail and Amtrak platforms, and the narrow end leading to a single exit. Assuming you're facing the wide end, most of the food establishments will be in a cluster at the rightmost edge of the mezzanine; the leftmost edge has ticket kiosks and various information booths, both about the MBTA and about Boston. The exit at the narrow end opens up to Summer Street. Summer Street is a fairly busy street, so it's important to be careful and exercise any and all street safety precautions. However, MassDOT has been kind enough to provide us with some sidewalks. To get to BCEC, you're gonna need to turn right onto Summer Street and.....walk. Literally, just walk. You should cross a bridge over the water within 100 to 200 yards, and to the left at the far end of the bridge should be the Boston Children's Museum, recognizable by a giant freaking Hood milk bottle. Just keep walking, and eventually BCEC will tower over you on the right. Look up some pictures of it - you literally cannot miss it. Because Boston is pretty popular with tourists, taxi and bus drivers have an uncanny knowledge of where a lot of things are. So, if you end up in (increasingly) likely scenario that April in Boston is cold, dark, and snowy, simply hail a cab and let them know you're heading to "BCEC". DO NOT JUST SAY "THE CONVENTION CENTER"!! If you hail the cab on Summer Street, they'll probably know what you mean, but it's easier to specify because Boston has so many convention centers. I have no knowledge of any bus or shuttle routes from South Station to BCEC, but if they exist, by all means use them.
If we end up with a warm, sunny, and lovely April in Boston, the walk to BCEC is actually rather pleasant.

OTHER IMPORTANT TIPS
To make sure your experience of getting around Boston is just as enjoyable as the convention itself, here are some helpful tips that I did not include above:
-Boston has some pretty spectacular rush hours - spectacularly awful. The MBTA runs subway trains every 9 minutes instead of every 15 minutes during peak times, which are 7 to 10AM and 4-7ishPM. For those of you taking the Red Line, be sure to look for cars that are labelled "Big Red High Capacity Car." These cars have considerably fewer seats than other cars, but can accommodate many more people and (hopefully) their videogame-related luggage.
-It saddens me that I have to say this, but FOR THE LOVE OF ROBERT KHOO BE POLITE AND RESPECTFUL. It just takes one jerk on a train to ruin EVERYONE's day; do not be that jerk. You could easily wind up in the arms of the Transit Police at the next stop, not to mention giving all of the other PAXers in the system a reputation of being jerks. If you were lucky enough to get a seat, be prepared to give it up for people who are disabled, elderly, sick, pregnant, those with children or strollers, or those with heavy bags or luggage. There is no specific ritual to do this; you don't even need to say anything. Just politely smile, and get up. The world will thank you.
-South Station can be full of scuzzy people, particularly in the evening and early morning. If someone who looks suspicious comes up and asks for money to "buy a train ticket", your first reaction should be, naturally, suspicion. Of course, if you have two or three dollars to spare, you can be a good little noodle and hand it over if you really really want to. Otherwise, politely say "I don't have any money" or "I'm sorry; I can't." Usually, this will make them leave you alone. If they continue harassing you, though, or if they turn aggressive or hostile, find a Transit Police officer or even some random employee. They'll fix the problem, and the people sitting around you in the mezzanine will probably be thankful.
-If you're from out of town, and people begin asking you questions about where you're from or why you're here, tell them! I mean, if they look creepy and stalker-ish, don't tell them and try to go find a Transit Police officer - but if they look nice enough, they are nice enough! We Bostonians take genuine interest in tourists, so feel free to brag about how you flew in from Alaska and how you killed a polar bear with nothing but a stick and a beer bottle. We'll be happy to listen.
-All MBTA stations have a full map of the entire system, so if you get confused or if you want to get to a tourist attraction that you looked up online, just look for the map or ask an employee!


Well, that about settles it. Also, if you will need any of this information in the future, MAKE SURE YOU REMEMBER THIS THREAD!!!!!
If you have any specific questions about this topic or about Boston in general prior to PAX, feel free to shoot me a message; I'll help you out as best I can.

I'll try to put out some other relevant help threads as PAX approaches.
Ok, time to go have a heart attack from anticipation.

~Inscrutable~

PAX East 2015: Passes For All Days [X] -- Free Time [X] -- Pass For Girlfriend [X] -- Hype [X]
PAX EAST 2015 IS A GO!
zerzhul on
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Posts

  • PurpleSkyPurpleSky Registered User regular
    edited September 2013
    Update: I meant for this thread to be the one people could use to discuss traffic and transportation in general. I just started it first because my question felt suited for it.

    Starting this thread now since I have a question on this topic. What is the bus line that goes near the Boston Convention center from the airport? Is it silver, purple? I don't remember

    PurpleSky on
  • whypick1whypick1 PAX [E] Info Booth Manager ~2' from an LCDRegistered User regular
    Silver

    Is it PAX <insert nearest future PAX here> yet?
    peetsnack
  • CoanCoan TorontoRegistered User regular
    Purplesky: do you mind this being hijacked for general in-boston transportation discussion (i had mentioned we might need a thread in the faq post). Otherwise I'll start up a new thread.

    Posting on the phorum again like its 1999
  • PurpleSkyPurpleSky Registered User regular
    No go ahead. I just started this thread when I saw talk of one being started because I had the above question.

  • DelaneyDelaney Registered User regular
    edited September 2013
    I'm copying this over from the Q&A thread so I can reply in the proper spot. :)
    Coan wrote: »
    Though its not the right place to discuss it I think, but I have to wonder how many of the people talking about driving in Boston as the "worst ever driving experience they've had"...live in major cities. As a Torontonian, I didn't really notice anything particularly rough. I'm sure the crazy few who drive in NYC would be ok...(for discussion for the faq, it may be better to talk about tips for driving in boston if you HAVE to, or like when you're driving into the city to park for a few days). Though last year there was a separate driving in Boston thread for that advice.

    Edit: on that note, @Zerzhul: last years driving thread went a few pages, should a separate thread exist for this year or we can talk about it here until it needs its own thread.

    The metro area where I current live has approximately one million people and is a major transportation hub (so, lots of trucks.) The largest city in which I have ever lived as an adult was Austin, Texas where the metro population at the time was 1.4 million. While neither are in the four-million-plus population ranges of the truly large cities, it's not exactly driving in the boonies, either. Both Philly and New York are day trips, though, and I drive to/in both several times a year. I don't think it's the population that's the problem, or rather, not just the population.

    I believe it was on these forums where I saw a photo with aerial views of Manhattan and Boston (with descriptive captions.) To imagine the roads in Manhattan, you can think of a grid. To imagine the roads in Boston, you can think of a clump of spaghetti dropped on the floor. Navigation is not intuitive. I'm usually pretty good at finding my way around strange cities, and even in Boston I was able to guide a friend from Faneuil Hall back to the BCEC after only having taken the T to the area twice, but it was not an easy task. The multiple highways and poor signage in the area don't help.

    Another factor is that having recently moved to the Mid Atlantic, I've noticed something about the highway system in this region that I think can give people from other areas trouble similar to what I've encountered. The roads are much older overall, so often the on-ramps are shorter and the lanes are narrower than in other parts of the country. I can only base this on my own experiences of course, but having driven in Jacksonville, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, etc., I can say that driving on those highways is a completely different experience than what I experienced in Boston.

    Finally, whether or not driving in Boston is difficult will naturally be completely objective. Since you live in an city which not only qualifies as a "major city" but is actually the fourth largest city in North America, it's completely understandable that you would not see it as problematic. However, I would hold that even among major cities there is a difference between places like New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Chicago at the top end and (at random) Austin, Memphis, and Baltimore which are still considered major, but have populations that are fractions of the largest cities.

    Delaney on
    "I will participate in the game. It's a wonderful, wonderful opera, except that it hurts." - Joseph Campbell

    Steam: delaney_a

  • CoanCoan TorontoRegistered User regular
    To me, most of the complaints I heard were warning of the population as in how they drive rather than navigation, though that is a complicating factor. Generally a lot of talk in the thread last year was on how courteous (or lack there of) drivers tend to be, and the fact that most are concerned with whats ahead of them and nothing else. Given the rate of auto claims in Toronto, and my experience here, its fairly similar...so...yeah, its subjective, but generally, if you can drive here, you can likely drive anywhere else in North America.

    and short on/offramps cheese me off, they're fairly decent here for the highways, but the only thing saving me in Boston is my GPS telling me ahead of time what lane i need to be in.

    In general though, I was looking to semi-recreate last years thread on advice for those coming in to the city, there are going to be a number of people driving in or looking to use transit/shuttles, so covering all bases with advice. I'll dig up the link to last years thread when i get a moment...

    Posting on the phorum again like its 1999
  • sfford2008sfford2008 Registered User regular
    I can tell you that it is not easy driving around Boston. I grew up here, and I live outside the city. I drive in for PAX each day, and it's not bad coming from the North to get to the convention center. I highly recommend looking at the route BEFORE you leave if you plan on driving in the city. This way you at least have an idea on where to go and what lanes to be in.

    As for the "Masshole" driving, you just need to be confident when you are driving. Bostonian drivers can smell your fear! Just kidding, but seriously drive with confidence and awareness and you will be alright driving in!

    Le_Goat
  • DelaneyDelaney Registered User regular
    I didn't mean to derail the thread, so I apologize. Tips and advice are always useful and I was very glad I had the foresight to visit these forums before my first PAX. I just wanted to reply to your speculation about whether those who didn't like Boston traffic lived in major cities or not, especially since I took it as a bit of a challenge.

    "I will participate in the game. It's a wonderful, wonderful opera, except that it hurts." - Joseph Campbell

    Steam: delaney_a

  • CoanCoan TorontoRegistered User regular
    Last years thread: http://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/176289/driving-in-boston-any-tips/p1

    Also, yeah, it wasn't intent for this thread but speculation on the other thread. What Sfford2008 said about confidence and alertness is how I drive here in TO and I do fine, but my rural Iowa-borne wife would rather walk than deal with driving here, i've found a lot of people not used to that type of driving gets overwhelmed easy.

    Posting on the phorum again like its 1999
  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    Yeah, let's keep this one to general boston transportation. I doubt we need separate threads for driving, the T, and buses.

  • stardust462stardust462 Leominster, MARegistered User regular
    One piece of advice I find useful if you're driving in and don't plan to use your car at all during the weekend, part at a subway station outside the city. That way you pay a lot less than the parking rates the city hotels charge. There are a few options for this, depending on where you're coming from, and where you're staying.

    If your hotel is near a Green Line station, I'd recommend parking at Riverside or Woodland, the last two stops on the D branch of the Green Line. Both are very close to the 128/95 and Mass Pike interchange. Riverside is $6/day and I think only takes cash; Woodland is $7/day and they take credit cards. Also, Woodland has a covered garage while Riverside may not - it's been years since I've been to Riverside, can anyone confirm if it's just a regular lot or a garage now? From there you can take the Green Line to whatever station is closest to your hotel.

    If your hotel is near a Red Line station, I'd recommend parking at Alewife, Braintree, or Quincy Adams. Again, where to park depends on where you're coming from, so check the map to see which one is on your way. Each is $8 per night, and I'm not sure if they take cards (it doesn't specify on the website like Woodland does). From there you can take the Red Line to whatever station is closest to your hotel.

    If your hotel is near the Silver Line, I'd recommend doing the above for the Red Line and transferring to the Silver Line at South Station. If you're staying at the Westin, it's about 3/4 of a mile walk from South Station to the hotel, so if you're up for it and the weather is okay, it's not a bad walk (I did it last year).

    There may be additional options with the Orange and Blue Lines, but I've rarely taken those so I can't provide any advice there.

    imnotalawyer
  • rascrushrascrush Registered User regular
    For most things I suggest just getting a taxi. I have never had to pay more then 15.00 for a taxi and that was with heavy traffic and the venue being more then 3 miles away. Also i have heard of a shuttle that brings you to the parties and stuff like that which may be a good idea as well.

  • PurpleSkyPurpleSky Registered User regular
    Taxi is ok for after shuttle hours, but the PAX provided shuttles are a blessing since they go to many locations around Boston. Even though my hotel is close to the convention center I still use the shuttles to get to a restaurant I really like. This is why the shuttles are an amazing service and I highly recommend using.

  • jdixon1972jdixon1972 Registered User regular
    I've never had a good experience with Boston taxi's. I hate walking (I am the epitome of the lazy gamer stereotype :) but now I do the T and walk. I've lived outside of Boston for around 4 years now, so i'm slowly getting used to the T (yeh, i'm a slow learner too :)

  • sfford2008sfford2008 Registered User regular
    edited September 2013
    One piece of advice I find useful if you're driving in and don't plan to use your car at all during the weekend, part at a subway station outside the city. That way you pay a lot less than the parking rates the city hotels charge. There are a few options for this, depending on where you're coming from, and where you're staying.

    If your hotel is near a Green Line station, I'd recommend parking at Riverside or Woodland, the last two stops on the D branch of the Green Line. Both are very close to the 128/95 and Mass Pike interchange. Riverside is $6/day and I think only takes cash; Woodland is $7/day and they take credit cards. Also, Woodland has a covered garage while Riverside may not - it's been years since I've been to Riverside, can anyone confirm if it's just a regular lot or a garage now? From there you can take the Green Line to whatever station is closest to your hotel.

    If your hotel is near a Red Line station, I'd recommend parking at Alewife, Braintree, or Quincy Adams. Again, where to park depends on where you're coming from, so check the map to see which one is on your way. Each is $8 per night, and I'm not sure if they take cards (it doesn't specify on the website like Woodland does). From there you can take the Red Line to whatever station is closest to your hotel.

    If your hotel is near the Silver Line, I'd recommend doing the above for the Red Line and transferring to the Silver Line at South Station. If you're staying at the Westin, it's about 3/4 of a mile walk from South Station to the hotel, so if you're up for it and the weather is okay, it's not a bad walk (I did it last year).

    There may be additional options with the Orange and Blue Lines, but I've rarely taken those so I can't provide any advice there.


    Riverside does not have a garage, but your car will be fine there.

    sfford2008 on
    imnotalawyer
  • CoanCoan TorontoRegistered User regular
    @sfford2008 @stardust462 since you both know the area better, do either of these do overnight parking? I'd love cheaper parking areas closer to the seaport than at the seaport (though it comes down to price vs convenience). Generally speaking a parking ticket+paid parking is more expensive than the seaport will likely be.

    Posting on the phorum again like its 1999
  • aBByNormaLaBByNormaL Registered User regular
    Self-parking @ Seaport if I recall the website info was something like $32 per night with valet @ $41. Not cheap, I paid parking fees in California this summer and was paying between $25 to $30 for hotels in the larger cities. This seems a tad more expensive than my experience, but maybe it is not uncommon for that area of Boston (based on limited parking options).

    PAX East 2016 .... gots my Passes [x] Hotel [x] Flights [x] Packed [..] .... ok we're all good !!!!!
  • millerm277millerm277 Registered User regular
    Coan wrote: »
    @sfford2008 @stardust462 since you both know the area better, do either of these do overnight parking? I'd love cheaper parking areas closer to the seaport than at the seaport (though it comes down to price vs convenience). Generally speaking a parking ticket+paid parking is more expensive than the seaport will likely be.

    I can confirm from personal experience that Woodland and Alewife both do overnight parking. Note that Woodland station is rather "hidden", if you're arriving at night, it may be hard to find, look it up beforehand, you basically turn into + drive past a condo complex. Other stations do have overnight parking as well, here is a complete list (although I would strongly recommend looking up further details of which station you pick to park at, some may have odd rules or pricing and the MBTA's site isn't always right for privately managed stations): http://www.mbta.com/riding_the_t/parking/default.asp?id=25317

    I would not recommend parking out on the Commuter Rail unless you plan it out in advance, weekend/off-peak service is quite limited on most lines.

    As far as other advice goes, if you ARE parking at the convention daily, it's often much quicker to just come across the northern edge of South Boston, and then come up by the Marine Industrial Park...right into the parking decks on the docks without the hassle.

    stardust462
  • EradiKateEradiKate Registered User regular
    As what passes for an aggressive driver in the midwest, Boston traffic (particularly on weekends) is not terrible as long as you know where you're going. If you're the sort of person who can glance at a map and retain all the information, go to it and good luck. If you have a GPS that'll speak to you and feel comfortable with that, you'll be fine.

    However, parking is expensive and unless you're cramming seven people in a van, I'd say it's more cost-effective to just ride the T. A week pass is less than $20 and the T is way easier to navigate than Boston streets.

    PAX East Attendee. Professional Tabletop Gamer. Donut Enthusiast.
    Vapok
  • cocowoushicocowoushi Registered User regular
    I second parking outside the city at a garage like Quincy Adams and taking the T in. $7 a day is so much better than 30-40$ a hotel will charge you.

    The T is easy to navigate but remember the trains will stop after 1am. But that's where the PAX shuttles come in. You should at least know how to get to the Con via T since sometimes catching the Shuttle in the morning doesn't work.

    Never once caught the morning shuttle (bus was full or late and it was cold) but caught it every night back.

  • aBByNormaLaBByNormaL Registered User regular
    Coming from Logan to Seaport as an example, am I reading the MBTA site right that SL1 travels right there. Is there a cost for that? It was not clear from the site whether this was a paid service or a complimentary shuttle. No big deal either way, just want to understand my options. Or is it better simply to cab it to and from the airport?

    PAX East 2016 .... gots my Passes [x] Hotel [x] Flights [x] Packed [..] .... ok we're all good !!!!!
  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    last I knew, there is no cost to take the silver line from logan to the seaport stop.

  • EradiKateEradiKate Registered User regular
    Right. If you get on the Silver Line at Logan, there's no charge to take it as far as South Station.

    PAX East Attendee. Professional Tabletop Gamer. Donut Enthusiast.
  • shepdshepd Registered User regular
    If you're not used to complicated big city traffic, I strongly suggest you use public transportation or taxis there. Downtown Boston is packed with 5+ way intersections and multi-way forks. As for comparing it to Toronto, Toronto is a breeze for me, but it doesn't have any 6-way intersections, LOL!

  • SchmulkiSchmulki Registered User regular
    This meme sums it up pretty well:

    stash-1-50e77a4354b11.jpeg


    I drove a few times. I took the train last year. I'm never driving again.

    Le_Goatrewarcabsyzerzhul
  • DanQDanQ Registered User regular
    Hahaha, I have to steal the picture. I will say this though, If you are driving in from out of Boston and taking the Mass Pike, taking the Mass Pike to the convention center is real simple. It's like right at the exit. I stayed with my mother who lives right outside Boston and drove in and out every day. Ignoring the cost of the hotel, I think I would still prefer this if I had a hotel on the other side of the city. No problem at all. Driving to my friend's hotel across the city though was a pain. If you are driving in from the Turnpike, just get in and get out, try to avoid going throughout the city. Actually one caveat, friday morning has a lot of traffic because of rush hour, the weekend was a breeze though.

  • jdixon1972jdixon1972 Registered User regular
    I have always loved that meme. That's the feeling I had when I first moved here 4 years ago, and still do :) I wont drive there unless I absolutely have to. Parking is a nightmare during the week, not to mention you practically have to take a loan out to pay for it. But you know what? I wouldn't go back to where I'm from (NC). I just love Boston despite the quirks.

  • GhostDanGhostDan Registered User regular
    I grew up in the Boston area, learned to drive around the suburbs of Boston. I've lived in NJ a year now, and would rather drive into NYC than Boston most days (I don't do either often luckily).
    That having been said, if you are just coming into Boston by flight or train or boat or bus and aren't planning on a lot of traveling OUTSIDE the city, then I'd really suggest not bothering with a car. There are very few areas you can't get to on the subway (mostly the north end) and even those you can jump on a bus. Travel to and from both South Station and Logan is done easily on the Silver line to the convention area. PAX in the past has offered busses for many of the hotels outside the local convention center.


    peetsnack
  • KilonumKilonum [E] Somewhere near BostonRegistered User regular
    edited September 2013
    Boston Taxi FAQ

    Please note: These answers only apply to Boston-based cabs.

    What are the rates like?
    Meter Rates
    Per Mile and Tolls: First 1/7 Mile: $2.60. Each 1/7 Mile thereafter $0.40. Tolls Additional
    Idling/Waiting Time: $28.00 Per Hour
    Passenger pays $2.75 toll for all trips from Boston proper to Logan Airport and North Shore Communities.
    Passenger pays no toll from Boston proper to East Boston, not including Logan Airport.

    Meter Rate Communities
    The listed communities are not considered Flat Rate Communities and the fares to these cities and towns shall be recorded on the meter.
    All Boston neighborhoods.
    Cities and Towns
    Abington Holliston Scituate
    Acton Hull Sharon
    Andover Lexington Sherborn
    Arlington Lincoln Somerville
    Ashland Lynn Stoneham
    Avon Lynnfield Stoughton
    Bedford Malden Sudbury
    Belmont Manchester Swampscott
    Beverly Marblehead Tewksbury
    Billerica Marshfield Topsfield
    Boston Maynard Wakefield
    Boxford Medfield Walpole
    Braintree Medford Waltham
    Brockton Melrose Watertown
    Brookline Middleton Wayland
    Burlington Millis Wellesley
    Cambridge Milton Wenham
    Canton Nahant Weston
    Carlisle Natick Westwood
    Chelmsford Needham Weymouth
    Chelsea Newton Whitman
    Cohasset Norfolk Wilmington
    Concord Norwell Winchester
    Danvers No. Andover Winthrop
    Dedham No. Reading Woburn
    Dover Norwell
    Easton Peabody
    Everett Quincy
    Foxboro Randolph
    Framingham Reading
    Hamilton Revere
    Hanover Rockland
    Hingham Salem
    Holbrook Saugus

    Flat Rates
    For areas outside of the Meter Rate Communities, flat rates are listed in the Official Flat Rate Handbook.

    Also, you can use this online calulator to get a good estimate of your fare. For reference, the address of the BCEC is 415 Summer Street, Boston, MA 02210

    Do the cabs take Debit and/or Credit cards?
    Yes, per BPD Rule 403, Section III, Paragraph x:
    x. Be Equipped for Credit Card Processing:
    1. . Effective January 1, 2009 all taxicabs shall be equipped with an electronic credit card processing capability. Such equipment shall allow the passenger to swipe the card in the rear compartment of the taxicab without handing the card to the Driver. Such equipment shall list fare, tolls, fees, and tips separately for processing purposes. Such equipment shall have the ability to electronically authorize the transaction in a timely manner. Such equipment will provide a printed receipt that includes:
      • Boston Licensed Taxi Number,
      • Date,
      • Time,
      • Charge Amount,
      • Hackney Carriage Unit Taxi Hot Line: (617) 536-TAXI (617-536-8294), and
      • Hackney Carriage Unit E-mail: [email protected]
    2. All Hackney Carriages shall have a functioning credit card reader at all times. If a Hackney Carriage does not have a functioning credit card reader, it shall be deemed unfit for service as a taxi.

    See that Hot Line Number? Keep it in your phone. If the cabbie says the card machine isn't working, start calling that number and let the cabbie know you are calling the BPD Hackney unit. Watch how quickly and miraculously that machine gets fixed.

    Is Uber in Boston?
    Yes

    WTF is Uber?
    A service to connect people easier to idle livery cars and cabs, with the livery rates very competitive with taxi services. You do have to sign up and use their app (https://www.uber.com/). I used UberSUV to get myself, my friends and our computers back to our hotel after East '13 and it was easier, less frustrating, and more comfortable than a cab, and the driver was very friendly and helpful (moreso than most Boston cabbies that I have dealt with).

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  • sacratoysacratoy Colorado, USARegistered User regular
    Personally, if I needed to get anywhere quickly in Boston I used the Hailo service. It's another app based taxi hailing service that allows all of the hailing, paying, tipping, and reviewing to be done via the app. It's all pretty seamless, and I always got great well reviewed drivers. https://hailocab.com/boston

    If you follow them on twitter, they also give out a bunch of promo codes to save $10 here and there.

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  • Le_GoatLe_Goat Frechified Goat Person BostonRegistered User regular
    edited September 2013
    Cheap Parking:
    I threw this out last year, and I'll toss it out again. There is a parking garage just a couple of walking minutes from South Station that is pretty clear for Saturday and Sunday, and it's pretty cheap too ($10-$20 for the day). Don't even attempt Friday unless you plan to be there around 6:00 am, as it fills up pretty damn quick for the regular business folk.

    Winthrop Square Parking Garage (240 Devonshire Street). It's usually never full on the weekends. I have parked the car over-night and it was only $20. It's at the edge of the financial district and away from all the tourist traps, hence the low weekend fee.


    South Station: Bus or Walk
    This is honestly a toss up. A lot of people ask if they should take the bus or walk. If you're you don't want to or can't walk or the weather is disagreeable to your liking, take the bus; might have to wait a bit for it. If you feel like walking and meeting some fellow PAXers at the same time, walk 10 minutes to the BCEC. There were some people last year freaking out because they couldn't decide, but it honestly doesn't matter. The walk is not through a bad part of town and the bus is pretty frequent.

    To me, walking is like taking a slight detour because I don't want to wait at the light: yeah, it's probably a bit longer, but I'm continuously making progress.


    T Times:
    If you plan on using the T, keep in mind that you can't stay in the Table Top area all night or may have to leave before the concerts are fully over. It's always a safe bet to make sure you are at the T stop by 12:15am. This way, you know you can make it and also avoid the possibility of being on the last T, which is just terrible; you end up stopping at each stop for about 10-15 minutes, especially if you go inbound, which translates to a most dreadful trip back.


    Extra Cab Fares:
    Just to add on to the above, if for some reason you will be staying around the airport (or anywhere off the Blue Line outbound of Aquarium) and you take a cab, be prepared for a couple of things: 1) you may get denied a late night trip; 2) you may need to pay the return toll.

    While both of these are technically illegal, most cabbies won't give you a ride into East Boston with some assurance that you'll cover the return toll. I lived there for 4-5 years and it's a royal pain in the butt to deal with, but it's just a part of the Eastie lifestyle.

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  • BSGRushBSGRush Registered User regular
    I know there is a shuttle for the InterContinental but how is the walk from there?

  • TemigTemig East [E] North Shore - MARegistered User regular
    BSGRush wrote: »
    I know there is a shuttle for the InterContinental but how is the walk from there?

    Not too bad at all, really. It's a 15 minute stroll at worst.

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  • BSGRushBSGRush Registered User regular
    Awesome. Thanks for the info!

  • d3c0yd3c0y Registered User regular
    If you're a night owl and an early riser like me, it's a lot more convenient to get free overnight street parking and then use the convention parking lot during the day. There's various sites you can use to find general areas where street parking is free after a certain time, and you'd be moving the car in the morning before the street meters are active. Personally, having my car nearby and easily accesable was worth paying the ($15??) a day in case I needed to grab/drop something I didn't want to be carrying all day. Only downside is having do drive around Boston for a parking spot. I personally didn't have too muh trouble but I'm the kind if guy who doesn't mind circling a block several times and can decipher street parking signs fairly easily.

    Also, the bridge connecting to the convention center is free parking on Sunday too. So you can avoid paying for the convention parking and still have your car a minute walking distance away.

  • BSGRushBSGRush Registered User regular
    Yea I will not be bringing my car this year taking the train.

  • Tanjin90Tanjin90 Registered User regular
    One piece of advice I find useful if you're driving in and don't plan to use your car at all during the weekend, part at a subway station outside the city. That way you pay a lot less than the parking rates the city hotels charge. There are a few options for this, depending on where you're coming from, and where you're staying.


    If your hotel is near a Green Line station, I'd recommend parking at Riverside or Woodland, the last two stops on the D branch of the Green Line. Both are very close to the 128/95 and Mass Pike interchange. Riverside is $6/day and I think only takes cash; Woodland is $7/day and they take credit cards. Also, Woodland has a covered garage while Riverside may not - it's been years since I've been to Riverside, can anyone confirm if it's just a regular lot or a garage now? From there you can take the Green Line to whatever station is closest to your hotel.

    If your hotel is near a Red Line station, I'd recommend parking at Alewife, Braintree, or Quincy Adams. Again, where to park depends on where you're coming from, so check the map to see which one is on your way. Each is $8 per night, and I'm not sure if they take cards (it doesn't specify on the website like Woodland does). From there you can take the Red Line to whatever station is closest to your hotel.

    If your hotel is near the Silver Line, I'd recommend doing the above for the Red Line and transferring to the Silver Line at South Station. If you're staying at the Westin, it's about 3/4 of a mile walk from South Station to the hotel, so if you're up for it and the weather is okay, it's not a bad walk (I did it last year).

    There may be additional options with the Orange and Blue Lines, but I've rarely taken those so I can't provide any advice there.

    I can not stress how good of an option this is, avg daily parking in Boston is $40 a night. Also if your military you may contact the coast guard station and ask what their over night policy is for the weekends. I know you can day park there fri-sun.

  • Irond WillIrond Will WARNING: NO HURTFUL COMMENTS, PLEASE!!!!! Cambridge. MAModerator mod
    i'll reiterate the advice to do whatever it takes to avoid driving in boston

    i've lived in cambridge, literally five blocks from boston's west end for eight years. i've probably driven into boston with the intention of going somewhere once. the streets are a nightmare, the drivers are dangerous and impatient and parking is impossible and expensive. (full disclosure: i do occasionally take a motorscooter into boston since i know my way around by this point and can park on sidewalks)

    the T is cheap and convenient. cabs are not as plentiful or cheap as NYC but they're a viable option. Uber works great.

    also, if the weather behaves, you can walk anywhere you'll want to go - from the north end or faneuil hall or the prudential center or the south end to the fort point/ convention area in probably 25 minutes. boston refers to itself (sometimes) as "the walking city" and it really is a great city to walk in.

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  • KomiKomi Registered User regular
    A fair question here. This time around I'm going with the idea of bring extra money for cab fare since I want to hang out at the convention center late into the night (or see the concerts to their fullest, had to leave before Paul and Storm last year and I am sad.). Will I be able to get a ride via something like Uber or Hailo around the times of 1am/2am? I'd hate to depend on it only to find out I'm screwed.

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  • ishtraishtra Long IslandRegistered User regular
    Since we're doing costumes we'll be driving in. Hoping to pack the car so parking at the hotel doesn't hurt so much. Love the idea of taking the hotel shuttle to stops near restaurants and thanks Kilonum for the cab #. Could totally have used it last year.
    for https://hailocab.com/boston are the rates similar to or the same as other standard cabs?

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