Officials have warned people working in Boston to expect longer commutes starting Monday, with the 30-day orange line shutting down and the nearly as long green line partially shutting down in place.
So how bad was it? No major issues were reported, but we spoke to downtown runners and their responses were mixed. Some said their trips had doubled, but others seemed to be on track to get to their destination on time, which was the experience of Boston Mayor Michelle Wu.
And on Tuesday it could be worse – Massachusetts Department of Transportation Highways Administrator Jonathan Gulliver said it was “difficult to judge” how the shutdown went given that many people are working from home on Mondays since the start of the pandemic.
MassDOT Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver joined NBC10 Boston Monday morning to talk about the impact of the Orange and Green line closures during the first few days of this work week. Gulliver said it will be very important for drivers to respect bus routes and turn lanes – which must be open to shuttles and emergency vehicles. Gulliver said they hope people do what they can to move their discretionary trips, and that anyone on the road will pay extra attention. Patience will be critical over the next few weeks, he said, while adding that they are well prepared and will closely monitor traffic hotspots like Sullivan Square. He said the biggest concern is that people are not turning away, which is causing so much traffic that there is an unmanageable traffic jam.
On Labor Day #1 of the major shutdown, here’s what some MBTA riders had to say as they learned what the next few weeks have in store:
Hannah Bagley: Directed from Ayer to Tufts Medical Center via Commuter Rail, Orange Line Shuttle and Green Line
On Monday’s “first day of testing”, her journey seemed to end up being about 45 minutes longer than usual, she said before boarding the green line, already with 20 to 25 minutes of delay.
Marie Belizaile: Directed from Malden to Ashmont via Shuttle, Green Line and Red Line
Belizaile had a good experience midway through Monday. “It’s not longer!” she said of her 90 minute commute.
Ricky McGuire: Directed from Methuen to North Station via the shuttle bus – usually parks at Sullivan Square
His journey took about 20 more minutes on Monday.
Katie Pimentel: Heading to Boston from Wakefield
“It sucks,” she said of her double ride, up to two hours instead of one.
siwen huang: Directed to Downtown Crossing via Commuter Rail, Orange Line Shuttle and Green Line
What’s normally a 20 minute ride on the Orange Line,” right now [is] taking me about 58 minutes,” Huang said, and that’s before he got to work.
Heather Manning: Direction Back Bay from Haverhill
His usual journey, via the orange line, has been reduced from 45 minutes to at least 90. .
Nick Kay: Directed from Medford to Suffolk Law School
He hadn’t noticed much change on his journey, via the RER: “When the weather is nice, I still walk, so today it’s not a problem.” Kay added that he wondered what would happen if it got cold.
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After taking an Orange Line shuttle and transferring to the Green Line at Copley Square, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu gave her thoughts on how the first day of the shutdown went. She was happy with how her ride went, but noted that the signage could be better – and that more rigorous testing of the system is coming.