Transportation in Boston
Im not sure which forum this topic was most suitable so admins if you know one that is better suited please move this.
Anyway, as some of you may know I recently auditioned for Berklee in Boston and although I have not received my decision yet. I have been thinking alot about finances and the logistics of not only attending Berklee but living in Boston itself. My first though was that in a city like Boston no one really needs a car to get around so I may be better off selling mine than keeping it for the time being but, then I thought how would I get my amp and bass from place to place. And would having a car be a potential bonus when it comes to being succesful in the Boston music scene because I know down here in Tallahassee band members not having a car is a complete and utter nuisance. So I was wondering what are the opinions and advice from Berklee students and Boston area natives on this topic.
Car in Boston: Ye or Neigh?
I have never lived there, but I have visited many times and have friends who do. Inside Boston itself, you would do fine without a car. The T is amazing, as are the people who work it. If you step off and look the slightest bit confused, someone with a T jacket will walk up and just ask where you are going. Then they will give you a simple route to get where you are going. A small combo would go on the T just fine. That being said, the metro area SURROUNDING Boston is pretty spread out. And places like Providence RI, Hartford CT, and Springfield MA wouldn't be a stretch at all to go play a gig. So if I were you, I would go up there with the car and wait to sell it after you get your feet wet. If you find you don't need it, selling wouldn't be a problem up there.
Again, this is coming from someone who only knows second hand other than visiting a lot.
I used to play extensively in Boston and the surrounding areas. A car will be a huge NET liability, imo. Convenient for getting out of town? Absolutely. But a huge PITA for the 98% of the time you're IN town: damage, vandalism, theft, parking time limits, snow parking, finding a spot to park it at all that doesn't cost you $200-300 a month and even then you have to walk to it or take the T to it, cost of insurance, on and on . . .
It depends on where you live. Berklee has very little available housing, though they've certainly been increasing that over time. Given that, any residence you have that is your own apartment comes with the ability for resident parking, as long as you register/insure your car in MA. That gives you free parking in the resident zone where you live, and the city has been pretty aggressively expanding resident parking, especially in Allston/Brighton.
As said, there is a decently extensive network of buses, and the T is pretty good, but unless you live right on a stop, you'll still have to schlep gear, so if you choose to do so, bring light stuff. Berklee has gear lockers, but if I recall correctly my friends couldn't get them as freshmen, and they were broken into fairly frequently (had friends lose a nice fretless bass and some vintage ziljian cymbals among other things). Rent at any place near the school and near a T/Bus stop is legitimately higher than outside those regions, though if you're living far from the school you'd have to pay for parking downtown if you drove in.
IMO having the availability of a car in the city is a huge bonus, even if used infrequently (might want to consider a zip car membership?). I went to northeastern, right down the road from berklee, and lived in the fenway/kenmore area up until my last year of my masters, so I had parking at my apartment and could park on/around campus for free if I was coming back from work or something since they were in the same neighborhood, but it also gave me a way to transport gear if I had gigs far outside the city, or in a lot of the venues in somerville and cambridge that are far from the T.
Thanks for the advice guys. At this point I'm leaning towards selling but I have half a year to make that decision pending my acceptance.
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