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Boston, Massachusetts - Transportation

Airports

Boston Logan International Airport is Boston's primary airport. Alternative airports include the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in Manchester, New Hampshire and T. F. Green Airport in Providence, Rhode Island. While neither airport has nearly the number of international flights, particularly from Europe, that Logan does they both have many regional flights and many non-stop flights to the west coast and other U.S. Cities. Of all of the New England airports Boston's Logan is the largest and busiest. It is located two miles northeast of Boston along the Massachusetts Bay. Although the distance in mileage is short the actual drive to downtown will take 20-30 minutes depending on traffic.

There are four passenger terminals: A,B,C and the International Gateway E. The Logan Shuttle provides complementary service between the terminals.

Tip: The Massachusetts Port Authority Interpreter Program provides interpreters for foreigners greet travelers at the International Hall to assist with any needs passengers may have. 20 foreign language translators are available.

Ground Transportation

Logan Express Bus provides transportation from the communities of Braintree, Framingham, Peabody and Woburn ($12/one way, $22/roundtrip). Peter Pan Bus lines and Greyhound Buses have bus stops on the arrivals level of each terminal.

Boston subway ticket booth © Michelle Leco / USATourist.com
Charlie tickets for the subway.

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) operates Boston's bus and subway service. The MBTA Silver Line's route SL1 offers rapid transit bus service from Logan Airport to the South Station where many of Boston's attractions are located.

MBTA Blue Line subway runs from Government Center Station to the Airport Station ($5) with free rides on the Massport shuttle buses to all airline terminals as well as the water transport dock for those wishing to use water transport services.

Privately chauffeured limousines and sedans are available with advance notice only. Rates for limousines start at $65 an hour and sedans start at $45 an hour.

Taxis in Boston run on a metered rate within a 12-mile radius of downtown. Our side of the 12 miles the charge is a flat rate. The fare to downtown costs between $20 and $25.

Several shared ride van companies serve Logan. The fare average is $14 per person with discounts for multiple people in a party.

The eight rental car companies each have complimentary shuttle buses that transport passengers between the terminals and the rental car facility. Pick up is curbside on the arrival level.

Logan is one of the few U.S. airports to have a water service. Boarding is at the Logan dock and water shuttles and water taxis provide rides to downtown Boston and other destinations in Boston Inner Harbor and Quincy and Hull on the South Shore ($12/one way).

Trains

Amtrak has three routes serving Boston and three stations: North Station, South Station, and Back Bay. New Port News, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, New York, Cleveland, and Chicago are all stops along the routes.

Interstate Buses

Several regional bus companies service many routes between Boston and New York City and other cities in the surrounding northeastern states. They are often called the "Chinese Buses" since many of them operate out of Chinatown.

Driving

Driving to Boston is pretty simple. There are a few major highways leading to Boston. Interstate-95 (Massachusetts Rte. 128) is a main north-south east coast route connecting Boston other main east coast cities. The east-west Interstate 90 (Massachusetts Turnpike) is a toll road connecting the New York State Thruway with Logan Airport. Interstate 93 comes from the northern state of Vermont. Interstate 93 (The Southeast Expressway) connects Boston with the areas south to the city

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Bike

Boston is not a bike friendly city. The roads are dangerous and the weather is unpredictable. While the city hopes to improve its bike status over time, its best for now to leave the bike behind.

Getting Around

Driving in Boston should be avoided when possible. Streets are congested, there are many one-way streets, and parking is expensive as well as hard to find. There are parking garages but it's common to pay as much as $25 a day. On weekends some garages offer weekend discounts.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's (MBTA) has a terrific public transportation system and is highly recommended for getting into the city You can park outside at one of the stations and take the subway into Boston. Boston is a fairly small city and is a great city to explore by foot. The streets do not follow a certain patters so having a map handy is encouraged.

Subway

The T Subway will take you to most of Boston's main attractions. There are three four color-coded: Red, Orange, Blue, and Green. Fares are $2 a ride or $1.70 pre-paid Charley Card.

Commuter Rail

The T Commuter Rail system's 11 lines extend into the suburbs and are divided into zones with fares costing between $1.70 and $8.25. The Commuter Rail is recognized as the Purple Line on the MBTA maps.

Bus

Whatever areas the subway and commuter rail don't reach the T Bus system does. There are several bus lines: Local ($1.50), Inner Express ($3.50), Outer Express Buses ($5.00) and part of the Silver Line.

The Silver Line is Boston's modern, environmentally friendly, satellite driven bus line. The Silver Line's "Waterfront" section is part of the subway fare ($1.70) and the "Washington Street" section is part of the bus fare structure ($1.25).

Tip: The best Boston transportation deal is the $15 weekly card allowing unlimited rides on the Subway, Local Bus, Commuter Rail Zone 1A, and Inner-Harbor Ferry.

Trolley Tours

Old Town Trolleys, Beantown Trolley and City View Trolley Tours provide sightseeing tours in Boston, covering most of the major tourist attractions. Prices start around $35.

Boston trolley © Michelle Leco / USATourist.com
One of the trolleys of Boston.

Water

The Inner-Harbor Ferry serves Charlestown Navy Yard to Long Wharf ($1.70). The Commuter Boat serves Hingham, Rowes Wharf, Quincy, Long Wharf, and Hull, and Logan Airport. Quincy or Hull to Logan Airport $12 while all other rides are $6.

Accessibility

Those people who are unable to ride the public transportation due to physical limitations may take "The Ride" the T paratransit program, for $2. Shuttles provide door-to door transportation to eligible applicants. An application must be completed, submitted, and approved before being granted access. The process can take up to 21 days.

Written by: Beth Blair
Top Photo Credit: © Michelle Leco / USATourist.com
Photo Description: Boston T Subway - Greenline