In this post, we want to focus on two alternative transit modes that you may (or may not!) be as familiar with: “rails and sails,” aka, Commuter rail and Ferry service.

“Ridin’ the Rails”: the Commuter Rail

MBTA commuter train

By MBTafan2011 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

According to the MBTA’s A Rider’s Guide to Planning Ahead:

“Riders can simply show their CharlieCard or CharlieTicket to conductors to ride the Commuter Rail in Zones 1A, 1, and 2 on ALL Commuter Rail lines at no charge.”

The Commuter Rail stops at the following Orange Line stations:

  • Forest Hills > South Station
  • Ruggles > South Station
  • Back Bay > South Station
  • Oak Grove > North Station (with connecting shuttle bus to Government Center)
  • Malden Center > North Station (with connecting shuttle bus to Government Center)

Because the MBTA providing service to Zones 1A, 1, and 2 on ALL Commuter Rail (with your CharlieCard or CharlieTicket), you might also want to do a bit of exploring! Check out which stations in Zones 1A, 1, and 2 are accessible at:

“Ships Ahoy!:” the Charlestown Ferry

MBTA boat

By Eric Kilby from Somerville, MA, USA – Glory, CC BY-SA 2.0,

If you live in Charlestown, there’s another transit option available to you: the Ferry. Ferries have run between the Boston’s North End and Charlestown since colonial times…and they’re still going strong!

The Charlestown Ferry makes frequent trips (about 10 minutes in duration) between the Charlestown Navy Yard and Rowes Wharf near the New England Aquarium.  Fares are $3.70 one way and you can ride the Ferry using your monthly subway or commuter rail pass.  Plus, the harbor views are GORGEOUS!

To learn more about the Charlestown Ferry, visit the MBTA’s Beginner’s Guide to the Ferry.


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