Orange Line riders have a little more than two weeks to figure out alternative plans as train service on the MBTA route is set to close for 30 days for major track repairs and replacement.
The disruption is expected to impact hundreds of thousands of riders as the Orange Line is slated to shut down from the evening of Aug. 19 until the morning of Sept. 19.
The T says the shutdown will allow a number of projects to be completed five years earlier than planned. The work includes track maintenance required under directives by the Federal Transit Association, which has scrutinized the T since April following a string of serious safety incidents.
“The plan to shut down the entire Orange Line during this 30-day time period will provide work crews with unencumbered access to the entirety of the Orange Line’s 20 stations, over 121,000 feet of track, and infrastructure, allowing a substantial amount of work to be accomplished,” the MBTA said in a statement on its website Wednesday.
“Following these 30 days, riders will experience faster trips and better service on an Orange Line fleet that is predominantly new cars.”
If you rely on the Orange Line, the MBTA has some tips for getting through the month-long shutdown.
Take the commuter rail
The T is urging Orange Line riders who need to get downtown to use the commuter rail. The agency said all Zone 1A, 1, and 2 fares can be paid by showing a CharlieCard or CharlieTickets to the conductor on all commuter rail lines.
Many commuter rail trains will make additional stops to accommodate for the Orange Line closure. According to the T, “most passing south-side Needham and Providence Line Commuter Rail trains will stop at Forest Hills, Ruggles, Back Bay, and South Station. On the north-side, Haverhill Line Commuter Rail trains will stop at Oak Grove, Malden Center, and North Station.”
The T said commuter schedules will soon be updated to reflect scheduling changes.
Take an existing bus route or a different subway line
Shuttle buses will replace Orange Line service (more on that in a second), but riders should also check existing bus routes to see if that’s a better option. Bus schedules can be found here, and if you’re not used to taking the bus, the MBTA has a guide for beginners. The T also encouraged riders to check the subway map and schedules for possible alternatives.
The MBTA has a $37 million contract with Yankee Line for shuttle bus service during the shutdown. MBTA shuttle buses also will be out on the roads.
“Shuttle bus service will operate in both directions, connecting Oak Grove and Forest Hills stations to downtown Boston,” the MBTA said on its website. “Riders should expect that this alternative shuttle bus service will take longer and be less reliable than regular Orange Line train service. The MBTA is currently discussing options with the City of Boston for how to best service the downtown area and will provide updated information soon. This service will be at no cost to riders and fully accessible.”
Work from home if you can
If you have a job that allows you to work remotely, the MBTA encourages doing so for the duration of the 30-day shutdown. The agency also is encouraging employers “with hybrid work policies to allow employees to work from home as much as possible.”
Parking fees are still in effect
MBTA parking lots at Orange Line stations will continue to charge fees, the agency said. The MBTA said it will “communicate lost-parking impacts related to staged shuttle buses in advance if necessary.”