Getting around Boston

Public transport

The Massachusetts Bay Transport Authority - MBTA (tel: +1 617 222 3200;, operates Boston's colour-coded subway lines, which spread out from a central point at Park Street Station, at the northeast corner of Boston Common. The 'T', as the system is known, began in 1897 and is the oldest in the USA.

MBTA also runs commuter rail lines, boat services and numerous bus routes. The public buses are cheaper and have more stops than the subway but bus routes can be more difficult to navigate.

Daily and weekly passes are available, allowing unlimited travel on the subway, buses, and ferries. You can also pay as you go with a preloadable CharlieCard, available free at many 'T' stations.


Taxis are plentiful and can be hailed on the street or reserved by telephone, but they are not cheap. Reliable companies include Bay State Taxi Service (tel: +1 617 566 5000) and Metro Cab (tel: +1 617 782 5500). Over the river in Cambridge, try Star Taxis (tel: +1 205 355055).

An interesting way to get to know the inner city area is to use water taxis, which run throughout the year both as commuter taxis and as ordinary water buses. Boston Harbor Cruises (tel: +1 617 227 4320; has a fleet of water taxis which stop at numerous routes around the harbour, including Logan Airport.


A car is only necessary for locations outside the city as Boston is not on a simple grid plan, curving as it does to accommodate both the Charles River and the coastline. Traffic is congested and parking can be expensive and confusing with many areas having local residents' rules. Much of the central part of Boston was built before cars and so lends itself to exploration on foot, and public transport in and around Boston is good and inexpensive.

Car hire

Car hire companies include Avis (tel: +1 800 633 3469;, Budget (tel: +1 800 218 7992; and Hertz (tel: +1 800 654 3131; Note that most car hire companies require drivers to be over 25 years of age or impose hefty surcharges.

Bicycle hire

Cycling in Boston is not for the faint-hearted. Only brave locals do so. There are scenic cycle paths along the Charles River however. Bike hire is available from Back Bay Bicycles, 362 Commonwealth Avenue (tel: +1 617 247 2336; There's also a bikeshare scheme, Hubway (tel: 1 855 948 2929;, which has more than 1,600 bikes at 180 stations across the metropolitan area. You can buy 24-hour or 72-hour membership from any bike station. After that, the first 30 minutes of any ride are free.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.