CapeFlyer embarks on maiden voyage
John Read listened as a booming voice echoed through a bustling South Station Friday afternoon informing passengers that the reinstated CapeFlyer, an MBTA commuter rail train with a final destination of Hyannis, would be boarding.
“They’re announcing it now,” said Read, who was traveling home to Yarmouth Port. “I’m psyched!”
Read, 54, said he commutes to and from Boston for work on the Plymouth & Brockton bus and was looking forward to a train ride home.
“I’m doing this as a treat,” he said. “I wanted to be a part of the maiden voyage. I’m all for increased train travel.”
The CapeFlyer’s kickoff trip departed from South Station at 5:12 p.m. Friday, attracting many to the restored service that has been absent for about 25 years. The last time train service to the Cape was offered was in 1984.
The CapeFlyer will offer service Friday through Sunday until Labor Day, departing from Boston and ending in Hyannis after a trip of about two hours and 40 minutes. Stops include Braintree, Middleborough, and Buzzards Bay. A round-trip between Boston and Hyannis costs $35, and a one-way ticket will be $20.
John B. Jones, 64, of Somerville said he was on the final voyage of the train when service ended in the 1980s, and he was excited to see it back in action. Service was halted then because of low ridership and a need for government subsidies.
“I just came to get information today,” he said, holding a CapeFlyer handout. “I’m going down. If I don’t go tomorrow, I’ll be going down later in the summer.”
Jones mentioned that the new service should relieve the notorious traffic jams that clog the roadways in and out of Cape Cod over the summer. It was a topic on the mind of many riders.
“I think it will be good for the Cape to get that kind of transportation,” said Katherine Bahrawy, 23, a Cape Cod native.
Bypassing traffic was a big plus to Bahrawy, who said she commuted to Boston from Sandwich for work last summer.
Read echoed Bahrawy’s thoughts on the traffic.
“I think this will help with the traffic,” he said. “It’s a great means of travel for tourists, especially for those who have family or friends with vehicles.”
Around 7 p.m. Friday, the Flyer was still en route to Hyannis, approaching the second to last stop on the line, Buzzards Bay.
“We’re very, very pleased,” said Tom Cahir, the administrator for the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority, who was aboard the CapeFlyer. “It’s really amazing how many people are still on the train.”
The Cape Cod Authority funds the new service.
At least 35 people got off the train at the Buzzards Bay stop around 7:25 p.m., said Cahir, and many remained for the last leg of the trip to Hyannis.
“I’m in the concession car now, and there’s about 50 people here,” he said. “Everyone seems to be happy; the conductors have been great. Everyone seems genuinely pleased with service.”
The train features a concessions car that sells food and beverages, including beer and wine.
Michael S. Dukakis, former governor, was also on board Friday and rode the CapeFlyer to Buzzards Bay, said Cahir. Dukakis was involved in the train’s return to Cape Cod service back in 1984.
The tourism and vacations had already started Friday afternoon as Ciara Lordan, Shauna Lane, and Jane Downey, all from Ireland and living in Boston for the summer, were eager to explore the Cape for the holiday weekend.
“This is definitely better than the bus,” said Lordan.