Bus Stops, Shelters, Benches, and Amenities

Cemusa bus shelter on Concord Avenue at the playing fields behind the armory.

Bus shelters

Bus shelters are located at many of the busiest bus stops in Cambridge to provide a convenient and comfortable place to wait for the bus. Providing bus shelters is one way that the City and the Massachusetts Bay Transit Agency (MBTA) hope to encourage people to use buses as convenient, reliable, and safe ways to get around the city. The City also places benches at bus stops where physically feasible.

Advertising shelters

Bus shelters in Cambridge are owned and maintained by the City, the MBTA, a contractor, or other private entities. Through the end of 2020, the City of Cambridge had an agreement with JCDecaux to install, operate, and maintain bus shelters through a program developed by the MBTA. In early 2021, the MBTA launched a new bus shelter program with Intersection

Locations of advertising shelters are determined by identifying the busiest bus stops, environmental justice areas, stops near important destinations like senior housing facilities, hospitals and other locations where a shelter would be beneficial to riders. 

Locations

Click the links below to see images of advertising shelters at the following bus stop locations:

Other shelters

The City and the MBTA also own and maintain bus shelters separate from the advertising shelter program, particularly in locations where an advertising shelter was not feasible given sidewalk constraints. Other institutions, companies, or entities also own and maintain bus shelters in Cambridge.

Click here for map of the current location of shelters in the City.

Realtime information signs at bus stops

The City has installed signs to show bus riders live predictions on bus arrivals at bus stops. The city has several types of live, real-time transit information screens -- TransitScreen at city facilities and LED and eInk signs. In addition, the MBTA also has installed signage to show bus riders information at a few bus hubs in the city. More information about these types of signs are found below.

TransitScreen transportation information signs

The City of Cambridge has had TransitScreens available at several city-owned facilities including City Hall, City Hall Annex, and the Citywide Senior Center. More TransitScreens are coming to Cambridge facilities.

LED and eInk realtime signs

The City of Cambridge is piloting realtime bus arrival information signs at four locations around the City. Two signs are located in and near Central Square and two signs are located in Porter Square.

MBTA Real-time signs

The MBTA has installed signage at several street-level locations around the City to provide riders information, in real time, about bus arrivals. These signs are located at the following locations:

  • Red Line Central station - Main inbound entrance - street level - LED screen signage
  • Dawes Island - Mass Ave at Garden Street - eInk solar-powered signage
  • Eliot Street - Brattle Square - eInk solar powered signage

For more information on the realtime signage program, send an e-mail to transportation@cambridgema.gov or call the Community Development Department at 617/347-4600

Better bus stops - Bus Stop Improvement Program

Bench installations at bus stops

In 2019, the City installed benches at 12 bus stops around the city. The City replaced a damaged bench in one location and added new benches at the other 11 bus stops. Some of the bench installations were at the following locations:

Green Street bus stop improvement - curb extension and shelter

In June 2017, the City constructed a curb extension and added a bus shelter at the bus stop on Green Street at Pearl Street, increasing space and comfort for waiting passengers and pedestrians. In order to minimize the impact on parking, parking on Green Street between Pearl Street and Brookline Street has been permanently shifted to the north side of the street. A public meeting was held in June 2016 to discuss the proposed parking changes. For more background information, please view the project flyerpresentationposter, and notes from the June 2016 meeting.

MBTA bus routing and stop location changes

The City works with the MBTA on an ongoing basis to modify bus stop locations and bus routing to improve travel times, service reliability, and safety. Recent changes include:

  • New Acorn Park Drive routing and bus stop near Alewife: Inbound routing of Bus Routes 62, 67, 76, and 84 (and 62/76 on Saturdays) toward Alewife Station to travel via Acorn Park Drive. This allows buses to avoid traffic on Route 2, with an estimated travel times savings in the morning rush hour of just under 2 minutes per trip, adding up to 21.6 person-hours on an average weekday. We also created a bus stop for travelers to and from destinations along Acorn Park Drive. For more information, please view a press release from the MBTA.
  • Broadway at Galileo Galilei Way bus stop: In response to requests from the public and MBTA bus operators, the bus stop on Broadway at Galileo Galilei Way, heading toward Kendall Square, was shifted to the far side of the intersection to improve operations and increase safety for all users.

Better streets for bus stops

Cambridge's current design standard is to extend the sidewalk into the parking lane at bus stops. This means that buses stop in the travel lane next to the extended sidewalk at the bus stop. As streets are reconstructed, new or relocated bus stops will be designed using the new standard of extended sidewalks.

Though today's standard is to extend the sidewalk, you will see bus stops that use an older design. These bus stops are where buses must pull into the parking/curb access lane next to the sidewalk or in a designated "cut out" outside of the travel lanes. These street designs mean that buses often get delayed re-entering traffic. Motorists parking or stopping also may blocked a bus attempting to use the older bus stop design. Even if clear, buses are not always able to get both front and rear doors next to the sidewalk making it difficult for people to board and exit this bus, especially, people with disabilities. For some, a bus stopped with a large gap from the curb means they cannot board or exit the bus.

Maintenance, repair, and snow clearance

The City works with contractors, the MBTA, and other entities for regular maintenance and repair of shelters and bus stops. Snow clearance is, similarly, a coordinated effort. If you see a bus stop that needs maintenance, repair, cleaning, or snow clearance, submit a request on Commonwealth Connect.

For more information

For more information, please contact Bill Deignan in the Environmental and Transportation Planning Division at 617/439-4632, or wdeignan@cambridgema.gov.