Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Music Beat News by the Boston Music Coalition

By Doug Ruffin
Boston Music Coalition

Extended T Hours:

An interview with the President of the Greater Boston Concierge Association

This is a continuing series of reports from Music Beat by the Boston Music Coalition regarding the possible extended hours on weekends by the MBTA. (Greater Boston’s transit system)

If you take the MBTA’s silver line to the, “Courthouse” station, you will find one of my favorite areas in Boston. It’s by the docks where the Dinner Cruises leave to sail Boston Harbor, the world trade center and Among other things, The Boston Seaport Hotel is one of the great landmarks for hospitality, dining and music.

Betty Salemme is the Chef Concierge at the Seaport Hotel and is the President of the Greater Boston Concierge Association. She sat down with me for an interview to answer questions regarding the extended T hours and if extended T hours would help or hinder greater Boston’s hospitality, tourism, club venues and restaurants. We were also joined by Ann Heimlicher. She is also in the Concierge business and is president of Boston Spot-lite, Inc.

Music Beat:  As you know, State Rep, Sean Garballey is proposing to extend the hours of the MBTA on Friday and Saturdays until 2:00 AM. Since the T begins closing at 12:30, as a concierge, How is Boston’s social life viewed by tourists?

Betty Salemme: Boston has a lot of great choices like, “The Beehive” Many clubs, upscale restaurants and bars.

Music Beat:  Is greater Boston up to par with other major tourist destinations?

Betty Salemme: Yes, but the one complaint I hear a lot is the fact that Boston rolls of the side walks too early.

Ann Heimlicher: I agree. It could be due to the early closing of the T on weekends

Music Beat: Where in Boston do you find adult couples spending most of their social capital?  

Betty Salemme: “Top of the Hub” Restaurant, Music and Bar.

Music Beat:  Let’s say the Bill passes and the T is opened until 2:00 AM. Would it cost more for restaurants to stay opened after midnight on weekends? Or, would the later T hours bring customers to restaurants after midnight?

Betty Salemme: Restaurants would be compensated by consumers who are able to stay later after theatre, music or sporting events. If you’re tied by the early T hours you may not get to see the whole game if it runs late or stay for the entire music event. As for the restaurants and venues, the employees at these locations need to get home safely as well.

Ann Heimlicher: Remember, even if theatre, for example, ends on time for consumers to go out to eat after the show, you have to make your own last call to get the train on time. Revenue is lost by people not being able to stay for that second glass of wine. And it’s true, people forget that bar staff and restaurant employees need to get home safe too. Or, if they work where the venue closes early, they too can go out after work without worrying about the early closing of the T.  

Music Beat: The location of casinos has been in the news a lot lately. If casinos come to or, near Boston, how would existing non-casino hotels benefit?

Betty Salemme: Yes, more revenue. Casinos give tourists other things to do in the area such as entertainment.

Music Beat: With casinos in mind, Would it make economic sense to have longer T hours?

Ann Heimlicker: Absolutely!

Betty Salemme: Casinos are likely to have late night shows and sporting events. Casinos will bring a greater late night need for public transportation.

Resources:   Greater Boston Concierge Association:      www.gbcaonline.com

                   Boston Seaport Hotel:                              www.seaportboston.com/
                   Bostonspot-lite                                       www.bostonspotlite.com/

                   MBTA:                                                  www.mbta.com/      
                   The Beehive:                                          www.beehiveboston.com

                   Top of the Hub:                                     www.topofthehub.net 


Post your comments. Should the T have later hours on weekends?

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