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KGCDRC63 May 3rd, 2013 04:25 PM

Newport to Worcester to Boston -- Car then Train?
Invited to a July wedding in Worcester. Flying in from Chicago...thinking Providence. Want to spend 2 full days in Newport, drive up to the wedding in Worcester, and then head into Boston for another 2 days.

1. Is there a place we could leave a rental car parked and take a train into Boston?
If not in Worcester, some other station? Is that a smart idea? We are trying to avoid driving in Boston.

2. Would it be possible to fly into Providence, visit Newport, drive to Worcester and return a car (which car rental company, if possible) and then train into Boston from Worcester, and fly home out of Logan?

I have been to Boston twice on business and remember the nightmare of unending traffic.

Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

Lookin_Glass May 3rd, 2013 05:03 PM

Fly into Boston, pick a car up at airport and drive down to Newport and then to Worcester then back to Logan, drop off car and spend next 2 days in Boston.

capxxx May 3rd, 2013 05:52 PM

There's commuter train service (MBTA) from Providence to Boston and from Worcester to Boston. So either could work. There are frequent trains only during ``commuter hours'' which may or may not be convenient for you.

I think if you try driving from Logan to Worcester or Rhode Island you can't help but hit Boston traffic.

Ackislander May 4th, 2013 04:02 AM

I second Looking-Glass.unless it is significantly cheaper to fly into and out of PVD. Check to see if you can drop the car off in the city and avoid the trip back to Logan. Park Square and Copley are both easy from the MassPike.

DonTopaz May 4th, 2013 05:36 AM

It seems to me that the idea of flying into Providence from Chicago, then returning to Chicago from Boston, is a very reasonable idea. There aren't nearly as many flights into PVD as there are into BOS, but both Southwest (from MDW) and United offer non-stops to Providence. OP would need to figure out how much the charges might be for renting in one location and dropping in another, but picking the car up in Providence also realizes several benefits (airport fee savings, time saving, and avoiding the not-real-pleasant drive from Logan to Providence).

I see no benefit at all to taking the commuter train from Worcester to Boston -- the train is very slow and infrequent (more frequent during the morning rush). Driving from Worcester to Boston is easy on the Mass Pike, and dropping the car off at a Back Bay location is not that big a deal if you plan your route in advance. Once you get to Boston, you'd have no further need of the car, assuming that you would stay somewhere in Boston (rather than a suburb).

KGCDRC63 May 4th, 2013 07:14 AM

Thank you all so much for your help and opinions! I really llike the idea of dropping the car in the "Back Bay". I dreaded going out to Logan with a car.

Let me ask another question...would a summer Sunday around noon be a good time to drive into Boston to avoid heavy traffic? If like Chicago, late afternoon/evening traffic gets heavy from people returning from MI and WI.

If we do end-up going in on a weekday, what time (day or night) does the traffic get reasonable? I know in Chicago it starts around 6 am---lighter around noon--- starts up around 3---then settles down by 7pm.

Just hate ruining a short vacation, sitting in traffic.

capxxx May 4th, 2013 07:33 AM

How about this ... you drop the car off in Newton (western suburb), and take a cab to Riverside MBTA station, the terminus of the Green Line. I see two Enterprise rental offices in Newton -- the Green Line is subway (trolley), not commuter rail, so trains are more frequent and cheaper. Newton aint exactly bucolic but would be close to the interstate so not much surface traffic to deal with.

Or, drop the car in Framingham and take the Logan Express bus (departs every hour, fast) to the airport, then MBTA to your hotel. Kind of convoluted, but it would get you there cheap and stress-free.

(My son was just last Sunday noon stuck in traffic 40 minutes trying to move 4 miles and park near the Prudential center, so I can't say I endorse the idea of dropping off in Back Bay.)

Riverside does have a huge parking lot that allows overnights (I believe), but it would kill me to pay both for car rental and parking fees.

Sunday noon can be quiet unless you pick a busy weekend (helpful advice, I know). Later in the day in summer, people are returning from their weekend getaways, so traffic picks up.

Lookin_Glass May 4th, 2013 09:08 AM

Flight flexability is a great point Don!

I was curious and did a quick look with random dates. You can get an early morning direct to Logan and be on the road by 10am traveling about 75 miles to Newport after the morning rush hour. The earliest I saw you arriving to Prov was about 12:30 flying direct and then a 30 miles drive to Newport. Time is money, and I'd prefer to get up early and arrive in Newport early. Otherwise Prov pickup and BackBay drop off is the way to go.

And dropping the car anywhere other then BackBay means you're spending the same amount of time, if not more bouncing around to get into Boston from a suburb. By the time you go thru the logistics of dropping a car and getting a train at riverside - well if there is no traffic then your wasting a lot of time and energy trying to avoid wasting time. And the logistics of Framingham to Logan to Boston would be be a huge waste of time. Dropping a car at a suburb location, getting to a train or bus, waiting for a train or bus is going to cost time.

Weekday rush hours in Boston are the same 6am-10am and picks up again around 3-4pm -7pm. What day of the week is your arrival and what day is your departure?

Well thats just my random opinion. Travel can be a math equation. Some people brag about getting a non direct flight and saving $50, but that cost them 3 hours of destination time. Goodluck.

Ackislander May 4th, 2013 10:49 AM

What Lookin_Glass says this time, too.

Driving in Boston is easier than driving in DC and probably pretty much like driving in Chicago, so don't base your decision on that.

But midday on Sunday is fine/excellent unless they are having some kind of charity march that blocks up the whole center of the city.

DonTopaz May 4th, 2013 11:08 AM

Caution: The "early morning" flight to Logan departs from O'Hare at 6:00 am, which means that you'd likely need to arrive at the airport soon after 5am. The Southwest flight from Midway (which Lookin_Glass appears not to have found) departs at the much more reasonable hour of 8:20, arriving in Providence at 11:30. (I'd never consider anything but a non-stop to/from Chicago.)

If driving from Worcester to Boston at midday, traffic on Sunday would be inconsequential. On a weekday, even at peak afternoon hour, traffic would not be an issue on the Mass Pike. It is fairly straightforward going from the Mass Pike to either a Hertz or Avis location in the Back Bay -- if you get off at the correct exit (Copley Sq, then stay in right lane of exit ramp and continue straight on Stuart St.), no more than 2 turn are needed for either one.

I would not drive all the way back to Logan to drop off the car -- much simpler to drop off in Back Bay.

Lookin_Glass May 4th, 2013 11:25 AM

Kudos to both Ack and Don.

I did a very quick search from Chicagos two airports with random dates thru kayak non stop. When you look at real times and real dates, I think you will find an easy answer. Either fly into Prov and out of Boston or not. Just don't waste time and energy on a suburb rental drop off.

Ack, do you need someone to come over this summer to whitewash your fence for the price of a room? Paint included!! LOL!!!!

KGCDRC63 May 4th, 2013 12:21 PM

You have all been great...thanks for the advice. I agree that time is everything on vacation and worth a few extra bucks. Now I need to look at dates and flights and get it down on paper.

KGCDRC63 May 16th, 2013 02:30 PM

Due to many of your ideas we changed our plans, but that brings new questions. We are arriving mid-week in PVD and spending 2 nights in Newport. Then we have Friday and until noon on Saturday. Would a Block Island trip with a Providence explore OR driving South to Naragansett OR would you recommend just staying in Newport?

After the wedding we plan to explore the Rockport/Salem areas for several days and fly out of Manchester.

We decided to save Boston for a trip all it's own in the fall.

Any thoughts or recommendations would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance ...

Cranachin May 16th, 2013 04:29 PM

LG, Ack, and Don,

I know the OP is flying out of Manchester now, but I'm kinda curious about why dropping the car at Logan was not such a great idea.

The plus sides to Logan, it seems to me, are that (1) the Mass Pike pretty much goes straight to Logan; (2) it takes less than 5 extra minutes to get from Worcester to Logan as opposed to Worcester to the Back Bay, at least outside of rush hour; (3) there are gas stations close to (and even at) Logan for refilling the car (I admit I don't know how close gas stations are to Back Bay rental drop-off sites), and (4) driving in the Back Bay can be confusing and traffic-choked.

Of course, the downsides to Logan are (1) it can take much longer during rush hour or if there is an accident on the Mass Pike or in the tunnel; (2) you have to get back into Boston, which eats up additional time; (3) driving around Logan (other than just to the terminals) can be confusing in its own right; and (4) I suppose it might cost more to drop the car at Logan than in town.

Is there something I am missing? Is it point #2 under the downsides that you thought was the real deal-breaker? Like I said, I'm really just curious (I live on the North Shore and don't usually have to approach Boston from the west).

DonTopaz May 16th, 2013 05:03 PM

To my mind, droppiong in Back Bay is faster and less expensive.

To drop at Logan, you follow the signs to the car rental place, and, after completing the drop-off paperwork, you take the shuttle bus to a terminal, then take a taxi to your downtown hotel.

Both Hertz and Avis have offices in the Back Bay that are extremely easy to reach from the Mass Pike -- you only have to turn once after exiting the Pike. Even at peak rush hour, it's simple and quick. And easy to catch a cab from either office.

I hadn't given any thought to filling the tank, though I'd probably do that either in Newton or Natick whether dropping at Back Bay or Logan. (Good luck finding your way from the Logan gas station to the car rental places.)

Cranachin May 16th, 2013 09:06 PM

I guess I was thinking take the Silver Line into Boston from Logan and then go from there to get to the hotel. But you're right about having to get back to the terminal so you can get a cab or the T.

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