The MBTA has taken another step toward creating a new overnight bus service in Greater Boston.
T officials are asking companies to submit bids to design a late-night busing pilot program they hope to start in July.
The MBTA wants a vendor who can provide vehicles, drivers and supervision of the program to "create 24-hour service for MBTA customers," according to the T's filing with the state. Request for proposals are due Feb. 14.
The T wants the chosen contractor to make a bus route that moves between Mattapan, downtown Boston, East Boston and Chelsea. The buses would run every 30 minutes between 1 and 4:15 a.m. And customers will ride for free during the pilot, the T says.
The pilot would last one year, with a review of services expected to happen after nine months. The company selected would also, according to the filing, be given opportunities to extend their program by an additional year.
WGBH first reported Monday on the MBTA's official appeal given to the state on Jan. 19.
East Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards said she believes there is a need for late-night T service.
"I think there was a misconception about it, that it was really for people who are partying out all night," she told WBUR's Newscast Unit, "but in reality there are a lot of folks who've been working double shifts and late-night shifts who need an opportunity to get home."
In February 2016, the MBTA control board voted to end its late-night weekend service, which included by special bus and train routes, due to low ridership and concerns over costs. That program had lasted fewer than two years.
This article was originally published on January 22, 2018.