A free rush-hour shuttle service called EZRide that links North Station, the MIT campus and Cambridgeport began operating Monday.
The blue EZRide shuttle buses are free to all MIT employees and students with an MIT ID card (the regular adult fare is $1).
"This shuttle provides the missing link in the transit system for MIT's North Shore commuters and those near the Fitchburg, Lowell and Haverhill lines. We hope it will encourage people to stop battling the traffic and instead ride in on the trains to North Station," said John McDonald, assistant director of enterprise services for MIT.
The Institute is subsidizing the service for MIT community members under a five-year agreement with the Charles River Transportation Management Association (CRTMA), other Cambridge employers and the City of Cambridge.
The five EZRide buses will operate every 15 minutes from 6:30 to 10:15 a.m. and from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. from the three principal stops: North Station, Kendall Square and Cambridgeport at the intersection of Brookline and Erie streets. The buses have 22 seats and two wheelchair stations.
The trip from North Station takes 15 minutes to the Kendall Square T stop and 27 minutes to Fort Washington Research Park in Cambridgeport.
"The schedule worked very well on the first day, and we had a good number of MIT riders," said James Gascoigne, executive director of CRTMA. The first two weeks of "preview" service will be used to evaluate the route and times.
The schedule for an 8 a.m. bus out of North Station is Lechmere, 8:07; First Street at Charles, 8:08; Third Street at Binney, 8:10; Kendall Square (Main Street at MBTA outbound), 8:15; 200 Technology Square, 8:17; Broadway at Hampshire, 8:18; Windsor Street and Main, 8:21; University Park at Sidney, 8:25; and Fort Washington Research Park at Erie and Sidney Streets, 8:27. The shuttle's return loop will start at Brookline and Erie streets at 8:30.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on January 16, 2002.