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Getting around Boston..need car?

Old May 21st, 2016, 01:56 PM
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Getting around Boston..need car?

I am planning a trip with my family in 2 parts in July..first few days in Kennebunkport Maine where we will need a car..then driving to Boston for 4 days. My question is should we return the car once we get to Boston..and what is the easiest way to get around? Subway..or trolley..we plan to stay at the Revere in Boston Common, go to red sox game, take freedom trail tour, Harvard, etc.so we will have easy access to the subway.
tallen1027 is offline  
Old May 21st, 2016, 02:15 PM
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I was in Boston on Thursday with a car. Didn't have a choice as we were driving somewhere else from there later in the day. You definitely do not want to have a car in Boston. Lots of options to get around and walking works too.
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Old May 21st, 2016, 02:30 PM
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No need for a car, very expensive to park.

In my humble opinion, driving is worse than LA, easier than Rome, maybe about the same as Paris at rush hour if that helps.

All the places you are planning to go are very easy on subway, bus or trolley/tram. Transit passes are a good deal.
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Old May 21st, 2016, 03:01 PM
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We went everywhere in Boston using mass transit - it was easy (and we are in our fifties), and I think a car would be a hassle unless you are driving outside of the city. enjoy
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Old May 21st, 2016, 03:18 PM
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Boston is compact, easy to walk and get around by using the MBTA. Parking is about $40 a night so no need to keep the car.

Each subway ride will be $2.75 but you can buy a weekly link pass for $21.25 for unlimited rides for seven days. It may be worth it to buy the weekly pass. Children up to 12 ride for free.
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Old May 21st, 2016, 05:07 PM
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A car is a nonsense in Boston - why pay for a rental you don't need plus $30 per night for parking. Just be sure yo visit any places you want to see in the outskirts (Lexington, Concord or whatever) before dropping off the car.
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Old May 21st, 2016, 05:10 PM
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I've driven in Boston, NYC, Philadelphia, Houston, Washington, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and just about every other large city in the USA. Boston is, HANDS DOWN, the city in which a car is the LEAST useful means to get around. The expense & hassle of car, versus the expense & hassle of walking & mass transit, is FAR GREATER for Boston than any other city I've visited.

Just make certain you have enough money to complete your ride!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aP1bvY7IqZY
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Old May 21st, 2016, 08:08 PM
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The only thing worse than trying to drive around Boston is trying to park in Boston. Put your best walking shoes on, get familiar with the T system, and on your way!

(By the way, there's a very good system map available in the very grundgy Downtown Crossing station MBTA office. Although you can do pretty much all tourist things via the "color" lines of the subway/trolley system, some bus lines can be very helpful and that system map is the best guide for the buses. It's a better version of what you can get at this very helpful website: www.mbta.com
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Old May 22nd, 2016, 01:52 AM
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Agree about the parking and years ago, anyway, Boston seemed to have an absolute army of people checking parking meters constantly.

The T is so easy to use, too.
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Old May 22nd, 2016, 02:28 AM
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I love to drive, will drive anywhere, am fairly good at not getting lost. And I have lived in Boston area for 40 years. I try not to drive in Boston. Return the car. Take the MBTA. Their website has a routing section where you can put in Point A to Point B and it will give you public transit option.

Aber also works really well in Boston - there seems to be an army of Uber drivers cruising around with no place to park and wait either.
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Old May 22nd, 2016, 05:05 AM
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If you are planning to see any Boston area sights outside the extent of the subway, such as Lexington and Concord, or Cape Ann, you might consider keeping the car for a day. Those are not easily served by public transportation, although Salem is reachable by commuter train (purple line) and ferry. As noted, long term parking can be costly.
If you intend only to stay within the scope of the T, particularly the subway system, (rather than any scheduled local commuter trains), do return the car.
T info and maps are on www.mbta.com

Note for reference that there are hop-on/hop-off private tourist trolleys, but that Bostonians refer to the Green line(s) of the T subway system as trolleys as well.

While people, especially those not from Boston, like to make wild comparisons, from a local perspective Boston traffic is not nearly as bad as some state above. :-0
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Old May 22nd, 2016, 05:51 AM
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Boston's reputation as a no-car-wanted city was always based more on the difficulty of finding one's way around more than the volume of traffic -- though of course it does have all the traffic woes of any big city. The city is not laid out on a grid, so it was always a challenge to get from Point A to Point B. GPS has changed that a bit, but it's still a challenge.

That said, you don't need a car. All of the attractions you've listed, and more, are accessible by public transportation. Not sure where the tours begin for the Freedom Trail, but I assume it's somewhere near the State House, which is convenient for you.

If you have an hour or so to kill, take a guided tour of the State House. It's free and interesting.
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Old May 22nd, 2016, 05:55 AM
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Driving within Boston is fine if A) you know it well, B) it's not rush hour (7 am-9:30, 3-7pm), and C) you understand that having a GPS is often futile because if you make a wrong turn, most GPS's can't recalculate fast enough to keep up with where you are and what the options are for correction.

Oh, there's also D) if there's no bridge construction blocking major routes, but that hasn't been the case in a long time and won't be any time soon.

A subset to "B)" is... "or you don't care how long it'll take you to get somewhere and you have a traffic feature on your phone or GPS and someone else in the car is navigating."

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Old May 22nd, 2016, 06:58 AM
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I'll second the vote for Uber... A third of of the cost of taxi rides and very quick and easy...
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Old May 22nd, 2016, 06:59 AM
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cfc - A, B, C often apply to me. And I agree with another poster that acting as if driving in Boston is lethal is silly. I just think by foot or MBTA is far preferable for most people in most situations.
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Old May 22nd, 2016, 05:18 PM
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Oh, there's also D) if there's no bridge construction blocking major routes, but that hasn't been the case in a long time and won't be any time soon.

It might not be "major", but the Longfellow construction is more than a little bit of a PITA.

As to the original question... You won't want the car because parking is so expensive. You are looking at $40 per day and then you'd likely pay to park anywhere you went. Throw in the car rental cost and you could be looking at $100 per day, which is a lot of Uber's.

As to getting around... If you are up for it, you are in a great location for walking. That area is super central. There is the Green Line at Arlington and the Orange by Tufts Medical as well. The nearest Red Line is likely Park Street.

I would second the recommendation for Uber/Lyft. There are a lot of places where taking an Uber/Lyft is far preferable to the T, and if it is 2 or 3 of you, it won't be terribly expensive. I use both, but Lyft is marginally better in Boston.
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Old May 23rd, 2016, 05:15 AM
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Uber/Lyft rides have to deal with traffic too. Just sayin'

Tallen - are you there? Where did you say you are staying? Makes a difference.

Travelgourmet - A, B, and C apply to me, too, usually by choice. I wouldn't normally use the Longfellow Bridge but the construction means all kinds of trouble on feeder and neighboring routes on both sides of the river. You also never know when the T will decide to offload subway riders onto buses to get around or through construction -- took me 2 hrs. to get from Harvard Sq to Park St. on the Red Line (normally 20 min +/-) one weekend when they were using buses between Charles/MGH and Park St.

Still, "love that muddy water..." a great town with darn good coverage via public transit.
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Old May 23rd, 2016, 05:16 AM
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Sorry Tallen - you specified the Revere - yes, excellent and central location.
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