Boston

By | 16th January 2018

Should you hire a car in Boston?

Do you need a car in Boston > Should you rent a car in Boston USA > Boston ( BOS )
Car: Do you need a car in 4? No car: Is it worth hiring a car in 4? Slider: Should you rent a car in 4? Should you rent a car in 4?

Boston car hire quick facts

Cheapest rate for one week Based on cheapest economy car hire deal with no added extras. [full notes - basic costs]

160

 #190/300

  • Price alone isn't the only factor in determining whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Boston but clearly it's an important one. See our "why" section for more figures.
How much should I expect to pay in the peak season? Based on cheapest deal during the summer holiday season. (Unless otherwise noted) [full notes - seasonal variations]

 €

260

 175/300

  • During the peak holiday season, public transport is often better value, as many train and bus fares are fixed throughout the year. See our "whynot" section for more suggestions.
Free parking score Based on the number of hotels which offer free parking.Total 723 - of which 161 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

22

%

233/300

  • During the peak holiday season, public transport is often better value, as many train and bus fares are fixed throughout the year. See our "whynot" section for more suggestions.

Boston public transport quick facts

"Top trumps" train score

Higher scores go to the systems which take you to the most amazing places.

62%

#95/300

  • [full notes - top trumps trains]
  • A good rail system doesn't mean you shouldn't hire a car, but it often means you have a decent range of options.

Overall public transport score {coming shortly}

This is a more practical rating based on bus and rail travel.

--%

#---/300

  • [full notes - overall transit] buses | trams | metro | local & regional rail | national rail
  • Is public transport in Boston good value, or is it worth hiring a car just because it is cheaper overall?

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score {coming shortly}

This overall rating considers walking and cycling in and around Boston

--%

#---/300

Need, worth & should!

Whether you have come here asking "do I need a car in Boston", "is it worth hiring a car in Boston", or whether or not you "should" hire a car here, these are all slight variations on a similar theme:

Do you need a car in Boston?

This is essentially based on whether or not public transport and other "non car" options are good enough to get around and beyond the city.

Is it worth hiring a car in Boston?

Is car hire good value, especially during the peak season? How does this compare with transit fares?

Should you rent a car in Boston?

Weighing up the above questions, if you are here for the first time AND asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?

The Massachusetts state capital is perhaps best known for its educational institutions, and Harvard University is even situated in the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Do you need a car in Boston? Introduction

When someone asks "Do you need a car in Boston?", this often breaks down to two key questions:

  1. Can you actually get around using public transport, or is a car all but essential?
  2. Is it worth hiring a car in Boston? Is it good value for money, compared with non-car options?

Over the next few sections, we wil look at the pros and cons of driving in Boston as a tourist, and ultimately weigh these up, so we can answer the key question of Should you rent a car in Boston?

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments


Boston also developed the first, and still one of the best, underground systems in the USA, and the city has a good network of local buses and state-wide coaches, so is there any need to hire a car there?

Why should you rent a car in Boston?

What are the main reasons for hiring a car here? Do you just want to drive locally? Do you want to go further afield, or should you even look at taking a road trip?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Boston?


Reasons why you should rent a car in Boston 

Should you hire a car in Boston?

  • Leaf fall — New England is most famous for its autumn leaves, and Boston is the main gateway for this. Although new England leave fall bus tours are available, this really is the kind of excursion that is best done in the car.
  • Cape Cod — a car is best for driving out to Cape Cod, and even for continuing on to the nearby islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. However, coaches and buses also serve these routes if you have a bit more time.
  • LimiTed although the famous ‘T’ (MBTA) network is generally excellent for getting round Boston itself, it becomes much more limited outside the central city area. The lines don’t always intersect with each other, so you often have to change twice.
    Meanwhile, journeys to the west of the city on the Green line can be tortuously slow, as this route has so many stops, and it divides into five separate fingers, so you can sometimes wait a very long time for your train.
  • Suburban trains operate into separate North and South stations, but there is no direct Metro link between them, and many routes only have limited hours of operation.

Why not? Visiting Boston without a car

What is public transport like in Boston? What about local conditions for walking or cycling? Can you rely on public transport and maybe a few taxis for most or all of your trip? Are there some times of year when it's easier to get by without a car than others? When should you rent a car in Boston?


Boston without a car

  • Ride the ‘T’ – despite having some limitations as mentioned above, and not having an acronym as cool as “BART”, MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transit Association) does offer a comprehensive network of routes within and around the city of Boston.
  • Whale watching tours — take a whale watching trip from Boston harbour, and this will be one of your most memorable experiences of a visit to Boston. No car needed.
  • Big dig — Boston’s infamous ‘big dig’ has ended up being one of the most expensive engineering projects in US history, but it has finally buried a waterfront elevated highway which strangled access from the city to its coastal shores. Now visitors to the city can enjoy a network of linked parks, whilst the cars whizz around in tunnels below. This is definitely one to appreciate on 2 feet, not from behind the steering wheel from the bowels below!
  • Quincy — take the “T” out to Quincy, Massachusetts, birthplace of John Quincy Adams, and home to the famous Quincy library, rated as one of America’s favourite buildings. From here, you can also get great views looking back towards the city.

Should you hire a car in Boston? Conclusion – whilst public transport in Boston itself is perfectly adequate, you will almost certainly want to leave the city, and although you can venture out by bus or train, a hire car will definitely be best for this. When should you rent a car in Boston? This is especially so during the leaf fall season.

Verdict — yes (especially seasonally during Fall / Autumn)

Links and notes:

Ratings

Our slider ratings range from 0 (it isn't even possible to hire a car, e.g. Hong Kong) through to 10 (you really must rent a car here, e.g. Phoenix, Tampa). However, most places are somewhere inbetween these extremes, and this is where it gets more interesting! Further ratings breakdowns, including a much more detailed public transport rating, are currently being added. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

Would you hire a car in Boston?

Have you driven in Boston? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Boston?

Do you need a car in Boston? For some or all of the time? 

Tell us what you think using the comments section below:


Category: USA

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