Question: What could be better than a trip to Cape Cod?
Answer: A trip to Cape Cod with no traffic.
And that’s exactly what some Cape travelers will experience this summer — as weekend passenger rail service between Boston and the Cape will resume for the first time in nearly 25 years.
From May 24 through Sept. 2, customers will be able to purchase one-way tickets between Boston and Hyannis for $20, and round-trip tickets for $35, a Massachusetts Department of Transportation and MBTA statement said. The DOT, which will operate the rail service in conjunction with the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority, said it hoped the return of swift public transit will draw tourists to the Cape and reduce pollution.
“The reintroduction of rail service to Cape Cod during the summer will not only give visitors a more relaxing, enjoyable journey but is a project focused on smart economic development and MassDOT’s GreenDOT goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting healthy transportation options for the Commonwealth,” said MassDOT Secretary Richard A. Davey during a news conference at South Station.
Since 1988, when the Cape Cod & Hyannis Railroad stopped Boston-Cape Cod service, buses have been the only form of public transportation between the areas.
The track left over from the old rail line will help make the train, dubbed the “Cape Flyer,” financially viable, said MassDOT spokeswoman Kelly Smith. The operation is designed to be cost-neutral, with ticket sales offsetting operating costs and no additional investment needed to lay tracks, she said.
On Fridays, one train on the Middleborough and Lakeville line will leave South Station at 5:12 p.m. and make the roughly two-and-a-half hour trip to Hyannis, then embark on a return trip at 8:30 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays, the train will leave South Station at 8 a.m. and return from Hyannis at 6:30 p.m., the statement said.
The entire operation is geared towards attracting summer tourists to the area — with wine, beer, and concessions available on the trains after they pass the Middleboro stop, and connecting bus service to other Cape towns easily accessible from Hyannis, the statement said.
“This is a great opportunity to bring more visitors to the Cape and Islands for a car-free experience to enjoy our beaches, restaurants and other attractions that make this region a prime vacation destination,” said Thomas Cahir, administrator of the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority.