What to Expect During a Storm 2021 GUIDE

October 27, 2021

    Please keep reading for an important message from MBTA⬇️📖

    Long before the first snowflake falls each year, MBTA employees are getting our salt silos, plows, and winter boots ready to clear tracks, stations, and parking lots.

    In the meantime, this guide will help you get ready for a snowy commute.

    What to Expect During a Storm

    Snow, ice, wind, and debris are the main causes for delays and disruptions to MBTA service during winter.

    On rare occasions, the governor may issue a state of emergency or travel ban, which can impact the level of MBTA service available. If this happens, we will update our website and Twitter with related service changes.

    Subway and Trolley


    Extreme cold, heavy snow, and ice can impact train service during storms. Routes that run at street level, like the Green Line and Mattapan Trolley, are more likely to be delayed.

    While our crews and staff work to clear snow and ice, we may run trains at reduced schedules or slower speeds. This is safer for everyone and prevents damage to trains and equipment.

    On rare occasions, service may be suspended or replaced with shuttle buses.

    All delays and schedule changes are detailed in system alerts, available on our website, on Twitter, and via text or email.

    See all Subway alerts

    Did you know? We use a lot of different equipment to keep stations and tracks clear, including the jet-powered Snowzilla. We also have heaters along Red and Orange Line tracks and special de-icing trains for all heavy rail lines.



    Storm Schedules

    Bus service may operate on reduced schedules or adjusted routes due to snow or ice. For the safety of customers and staff, buses may operate at reduced speeds.

    During a storm, buses will run on either of the following schedules:

     Regular Schedule: Buses operating with normal service

     Storm Schedule: Buses operating with reduced service, similar to Saturday service

    Schedules are adjusted on a route-by-route basis.

    Snow Routes

    Some buses run on alternate routes to avoid narrow streets and steep hills. If your bus operates with a snow route, it is indicated on the PDF schedule, which is available on our website or from your bus driver.

    See all snow routes

    Schedule and Route Alerts

    All route and schedule variations are detailed in all system alerts, available on our website, on Twitter, and via text or email.

    See all bus alerts

    Bus Stop Shoveling

    The MBTA is responsible for clearing snow and ice from stops on 15 key bus routes and the Silver Line within 24 hours after snowfall ends. Municipalities are responsible for clearing all other stops.

    You can report an uncleared bus stop to the MBTA or the municipality responsible for the stop.

    Report an unshoveled bus stop

    Did you know? If you regularly ride any of the 15 key bus routes or the Silver Line and you sign up for T-Alerts, we’ll send you an “All Clear” message when all the stops along your route have been shoveled.

    Commuter Rail


    Service on the Commuter Rail may be impacted by extreme cold, heavy snow, and ice. Sometimes, service may be disrupted if tree limbs or electric wires fall on the tracks.

    During and immediately after severe weather, trains will operate on one of the following schedule types:

     Regular Schedule: Trains operating with normal service

     Storm Schedule: Trains operating with modified service—storm schedules are available on each Commuter Rail page, and from staff at North, South, and Back Bay stations

     No Service: Service suspended—this happens on rare occasions

    All schedule changes are detailed in system alerts, available on our website, on Twitter, and via text or email.

    Check Commuter Rail service alerts

    Did you know? During extreme weather, we deploy as many as 450 crew members to clear Commuter Rail tracks and stations. Crews use a variety of equipment, including a snow plow train and the jet-powered Snowzilla.



    Ferry service may be suspended or delayed in the event of snow, ice, or wind.

    If you usually take the ferry to downtown Boston, plan your trip first to find alternate routes.

    The RIDE


    Winter weather may impact driving conditions, and drivers may not be able to access locations that aren’t shoveled or plowed.

    Before and during storms, you can call The RIDE Access Center (TRAC) for information about delays or cancellations for any trips you have scheduled.

    Contact The RIDE Access Center



    During and after storms, crews work to keep MBTA parking lots clear. Sometimes, large snow banks may reduce the number of spaces available. Cars parked outside of designated spaces or left overnight maybe ticketed or towed.

    You can check parking availability at popular lots and garages on Twitter, @MBTA_Parking.

    If you have concerns about snow or ice at any of our facilities, please contact Customer Support.

    Learn more about winter parking policies