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MBTA begins late service this weekend

Get ready, Bostonians: Your late-night carriage awaits.

After years of fielding pleas from partygoers, tech workers, and late-shift employees, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is set to debut its one-year pilot program for late-night service on Friday.

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T staff don’t want riders to forget: Workers are scheduled to post 600 signs inside subway cars and buses by Friday night. “Out extra late?” one asks. “Now we are too!”

The T’s trains, most popular buses, and The Ride service for people with disabilities will operate until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights — two hours later than usual — but last runs will begin around 2 a.m., with trains meeting in the heart of the city a half-hour before closing to allow passengers time to make transfers.

On the Red Line, the last train will leave Alewife Station at 2:15 a.m., while trains will depart from Braintree Station at 1:52 a.m. and Ashmont Station at 2:07 a.m. Trains on both ends of the Orange Line are scheduled to start their final run at 2:10 a.m.

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The last Silver Line bus will leave Logan Airport at 2:03 a.m., and the last bus shuttling riders from South Station to the airport is scheduled to depart at 2:15 a.m.

On the Green Line, trolleys will depart from each western terminus between 1:40 a.m. and 1:48 a.m., except for the E branch, which will begin its eastward journey at 2:11. a.m.

And for those venturing in or out of Eastie in the wee hours, last trains will depart from Wonderland Station at 2:05 a.m. and Bowdoin Station at about 2:30 a.m.

The pilot service comes nine years after the T’s board of directors canceled the Night Owl bus service, which offered extended transit hours on buses that traced the routes of subway lines. The service operated for four years before being scrapped in a round of budget cuts, with officials saying the modest ridership didn’t justify the heavy costs to the T: $7.53 per rider, compared with $1.37 per rider on a bus route during regular operating hours.

T customers who plan to use the new late-night service are determined to make sure it sticks around this time.

“This is game time,” wrote Simmons College student Taylor Rapalyea Tuesday in the campus newspaper. “I don’t care if you’re not in the mood to go out this Friday, you are going to get your butt on that train at 1 a.m. and ride it from one end of the Green Line to the other.

“If we blow the opportunity for late-night MBTA service twice in a decade, that’s on us.”

Martine Powers can be reached at martine.powers@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @martinepowers.
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