As a Boston native, Maya Jonas-Silver has been riding the MBTA all her life.
In elementary school, she took the Red Line home to Dorchester with her father at the end of the day. As a Boston Latin School student, she rode the Green Line to Park Street before grabbing the Red Line home. When she moved into her dorm at Harvard University, she shuttled back and forth on the subway, bringing everything she could carry.
“I really have spent what’s felt like countless hours on the train in my life,” said Jonas-Silver, a self-proclaimed transit enthusiast. “I’m always excited about what the T is up to.”
Now, the 29-year-old North End resident wants to use her expert knowledge of the region’s sprawling transit system to try and set a subway system speed record.
In a few weeks, Jonas-Silver is moving to New York City with her fiance, Jack, to start a new chapter in their lives. But before she leaves her hometown, she’ll attempt to win the Guinness World Records title for stopping at every MBTA station in the quickest time possible.
The record — officially titled “Fastest time to travel to all Boston subway stations” — was set four years ago by Alex Cox and Dominic DiLuzio. The pair spent months mapping out their route before eventually completing their journey on a warm August day in 7 hours, 29 minutes, and 46 seconds.
That’s the time for Jonas-Silver to beat Friday. While it could prove difficult, she thinks she can accomplish her goal this week, allowing her to bid farewell to Boston with some bragging rights.
“If there’s anything I can do, it’s figure out how to make the train connections work,” said Jonas-Silver, who recently left her job as senior director of capital in the state’s Executive Office for Administration and Finance.
A Guinness World Records spokeswoman confirmed that Jonas-Silver submitted an application for her record-breaking attempt. The record is measured by the total time it takes to stop at the stations on the four subway lines, plus the Ashmont-Mattapan High-Speed Line. Taking the Silver Line is not required.
During her excursion, Jonas-Silver will need to meticulously document each stop by both jotting down the time she arrives at a station, and filming and taking pictures to prove it, evidence Guinness will later use to certify — or deny — her attempt. Friends will be stationed at each end of her route to serve as witnesses of her departure and arrival. She can only take public transit or proceed on foot.
Jonas-Silver said her plan, which has taken shape on a spreadsheet over the past month, is a bit different than Cox and DiLuzio’s. Rather than start at Alewife Station and finish on the Blue Line at Wonderland, she’ll begin at the Green Line’s Riverside Station, at the end of the D Line.
“[That’s] my big innovation,” said Jonas-Silver, who plans to begin around 5 a.m. and wrap up early in the afternoon. “I think it’s the right place to start.”
At first, Jonas-Silver will focus on tackling the Green Line’s many branches — running between a few stations along the way — before taking the Orange Line to its end at Oak Grove and back to State Street. Next, she plans to run a half-mile to the Blue Line’s Bowdoin stop (if a train isn’t immediately available at State), ride it to Wonderland Station, and then hop back on to catch the Orange Line at State Street again, this time to Forest Hills.
From there, she will switch to a bus to the Mattapan Trolley, which she’ll ride to the Red Line’s Ashmont Station. Once she arrives, she will head to JFK/UMass, get off, and then head south to Braintree. She will then turn around and go all the way to Alewife in Cambridge.
“That’s the last stop,” Jonas-Silver said.
Of course, anyone who has boarded a MBTA train, or desperately waited for one to arrive, knows that myriad obstacles can crop up, whether a service delay, medical emergency, or even a derailed vehicle.
“Anything can happen,” said Jonas-Silver, whose journey could be slowed by the shuttle bus replacements along portions of the Green Line that are under construction. “It’s never a guarantee trying to take 12 different transportation lines in a day and hoping they all go according to plan.”
But she’s optimistic. And besides her family and friends, Jonas-Silver also has someone else rooting for her: the MBTA.
Joe Pesaturo, an MBTA spokesman, said in a statement that the transit agency “wishes Maya all the best in her pursuit of transit glory.”
“And we hope she’ll return at year’s end to set another record when three more Green Line Stations will be open to riders” as part of an extension project, he said.
One of the current champs, DiLuzio wished her luck, “but not too much luck.”
“It’s gonna be tough for sure,” he said by text, citing work on the Green Line and other factors. “Somehow, we didn’t run into any issues or delays.”
If Jonas-Silver pulls it off, the record will be considered “unofficial” until Guinness reviews her submitted documentation and evidence, and certifies the attempt — a process that could take 16 weeks.
And if she doesn’t? Well, just knowing she went for the crown before leaving the MBTA for a new public transportation system qualifies as a win.
“Whether it’s successful or not,” she said, “I think it’ll be fun.”