Students in Malden, Medford, and Somerville returned to school Wednesday without Orange Line service, and administrators told families to be prepared for increased traffic during the shutdown.
“The MBTA’s temporary shutdown of the Orange Line is likely to result in an increase of traffic in and around Medford,” Superintendent Marice Edouard-Vincent wrote to the school community. “For that reason, we strongly encourage staff and families to plan ahead in order to arrive at school on time.”
The suspension of Orange Line service to make long overdue repairs began on Aug. 19 and is scheduled to continue through Sept. 18. The Orange Line runs from Oak Grove station in Malden through Medford and Somerville to Boston.
In a separate bulletin to the school community, Edouard-Vincent urged families to have patience, especially during the first week of school.
“We are working hard to partner with our transportation vendors to make sure all students arrive on time and safely to school,” Edouard-Vincent wrote. “Please remember that there are always challenges when it comes to transportation and the operations of a new school year. I ask for everyone to please be patient with one another so that the start of the school year can reflect the joy that we know will be exhibited by MPS students across the city as they reunite with their friends and teachers.”
Medford Mayor Breanna Lungo-Koehn said there was “some congestion in and around the schools” Wednesday morning, but the overall impact seemed minor.
“Wednesday is the day we see the most traffic and ridership on the shuttles, but the impacts are much less than expected,” Lungo-Koehn said by email. “I am curious what next week will bring after Labor Day.”
In Somerville, school officials expected that the MBTA Orange Line shutdown would mostly impact staff commutes with heavier traffic, and possible heavier congestion in the city, especially with a stretch of the Green Line also shut down.
“We have taken the necessary precautions to alert families and staff, and encourage them to build in a little additional travel time,” Somerville school officials said in a statement to the Globe. “Our transportation companies are also aware of the potential impact and will be using available bus lanes as they travel throughout the city.”
In Somerville, students in grades 7 through 12 will receive free CharlieCards through the MBTA’s “M7 Pass Program” for the school year.
“School administrators will distribute the passes to students during the month of September,” Somerville school officials wrote on Facebook. “Last year, students took over 150,000 trips with their M7 CharlieCards and this year we anticipate even more trips through the program expansion.”