10 Tips for Riding the MBTA With Kids

Boston red line train

Forget what you’ve heard — Boston is one of the easiest cities to navigate on public transportation! As Boston moms ourselves, we’ve compiled this list of our top tips for riding the MBTA subway (or, as we affectionately call it, “the T”) with kids!

The MBTA

Subway map
Credit MBTA website

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
Price: $2.40 per ride | Children under 11 ride free with adult (2 kids per adult) 

Boston’s MBTA offers five different lines that cover nearly 80 miles. There are stops near all major attractions and, with practice, the system is easy to navigate!

Tips

  1. Using the T can save you a ton of money on rental cars and parking. In town for a full week? Save yourself some cash and purchase an unlimited seven-day CharlieCard for $22.50 per person! CharlieCards and CharlieTickets (the paper version of a CharlieCard) are available at all MBTA stations.
  2. The MBTA has a great trip planner tool on its website. Plug in your destination and it will help you plan out your stops! 
  3. If you are traveling with a heavy stroller, make sure the stations you’ll be using are accessible. Some stations do NOT have elevators (Boylston and Hynes, to name a few). The accessibility tool here shows which stations are handicap accessible.
  4. “Next stahp, Pahk Street!” The train operator will announce each stop over the loudspeaker if you’re on an older MBTA train. If you’re on a new one, the stops will be announced automatically. During peak times, the trains can be loud, so keep an eye on the signage at each stop.
  5. Even when the trains are full, there is enough time to get off! You’ll hear three or four loud beeps before the doors close. kids on train
  6. The MBTA rails are old, and the trains screech loudly as they pull into the station. It’s a good idea to prep your kids for the loud noises, because they can be upsetting to some children. If your little ones are particularly sensitive to noise, packing some earplugs could be a good idea.
  7. Take a seat! The trains can be fast and take corners quickly. It’s best if kids are seated or holding on tightly to you. If you are in need of a seat (pregnant, disabled, just stinkin’ exhausted), don’t be shy! Ask somebody to share theirs, or grab a free one as soon as you see it.
  8. The Red Line from Charles/MGH to Kendall/MIT goes right over the Charles River and provides a great look at the city skyline over the Charles. It’s even prettier at night!kids in MBTA shirts
  9. MBTA station performers can be SUPER entertaining. Many are fixtures in Boston and have been performing there for years.
  10. When in doubt, ask an MBTA staff member or friendly stranger for help! Bostonians can be nice when prompted. Take your time and try to have fun with it!
Meghan was born and raised on the South Shore and attended college in Boston. After college, she married her high school sweetheart and followed him to Charleston, SC, and Groton, CT, where he served as a submarine officer in the United States Navy. Military life was an adventure, and after six crazy years of service (and two babies later!), the pair decided to move *home* to the South Shore in 2016 and put down some roots. Meghan is the proud owner of Boston Moms and work-at-home mom to William, Benjamin, and Caroline, born in 2013, 2015 and 2019. She loves meeting new people, encouraging moms, celebrating motherhood, and supporting small businesses.

1 COMMENT

  1. Meghan – do you know if the commuter rail also offers free rides to kids under 11 with their parents? I can’t find this information anywhere on the MBTA site. Thanks!

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