Stranded passengers struggled to get to work

Passengers stranded on the Green Line near Kenmore Square.
J. D. Capelouto For the Boston Globe
Passengers stranded on the Green Line near Kenmore Square.

Hundreds of Green Line passengers were delayed getting to work and forced to board MBTA shuttle buses during their morning commute after a power line problem forced the shutdown of the Green Line on all four major branches.

The T reported service was fully restored around 10:45 a.m.

Government Center

About 100 bewildered commuters stood outside the Government Center T stop in downtown Boston waiting for shuttle buses shortly before 9 a.m. Tuesday.


“I quit with the bus,” said Kate Steeves, 24, of Everett. “I’m currently Uber-ing.”

Get Metro Headlines in your inbox:
The 10 top local news stories from metro Boston and around New England delivered daily.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Steeves, who normally rides the subway to her job in the Longwood medical area, said she watched two buses marked “Not In Service” amble by before dialing up her ride-share.

She added that she informed her boss that she’d be late because of the snafu.

Mary Gregory, 57, of Lynn, had hoped to take the subway to Brigham & Women’s to visit her ailing husband. But the plan was scuttled as she waited with the pack for the next bus.

“I can’t get there,” she said.


Gregory added that she was “frustrated” but wondered, “what can you do?”

Another morning commuter, Megan Forest-Charlton, 27, of Littleton, had a succinct reaction to the news that the subway wouldn’t be taking her to her job in Brighton.

“Confused,” she said with a grin.

Craig Schissler, 43, of Somerville, was less sanguine.

“I think I’m about to start walking,” he said after waiting in vain for a bus outside Government Center.


Schissler, who works in Kenmore Square, said he was about to alert his boss to the delay and also said the train problems were frustrating.

“Yeah, fairly frustrating, but what can I do about it?” he said. “There’s nothing I can do about it.”

Park Street

Stranded commuters also waited for buses outside Park Street station, where T workers told riders “Red Line service only” and “there’s no Green Line service” as they approached the entrance. The workers explained that shuttle bus service would be available.

Lesly Bellamy, 23, of Hyde Park, said the train problems were making him late for his job at Boston College.

“It’s beyond frustrating,” said Bellamy, who stood outside Park Street holding his backpack and skateboard as he waited for an Uber.

Bellamy said the service interruption had prompted frustrated riders to post an internet meme of John Travolta looking blankly from side to side in the movie “Pulp Fiction.”

“Like, ‘where’s the shuttle? where’s the shuttle?’ “ Bellamy said, stressing the word “where’s” in mock confusion.

“We’re just stuck here at this point,” Bellamy said, adding that T troubles are a frequent punch line for him and his friends.

“We make jokes [about the T] all the time,” he said. “We make memes.”

On Tuesday, Travolta with his head on a swivel was added to the vast library of social media satire directed at the T.

Kenmore Square

At the other end of the closed Green Line - the Kenmore Square station - hundreds more passengers stood and waited.

“I’m obviously late for work,” said Flora Chang, who lives near Kenmore but works near Haymarket. “That’s a lot of people and we’re all waiting for the shuttle? They better send 10 at once.”

Many riders decided to take other forms of transportation to work, like Uber, taxis, or walking.

Lisa Stein, a Newton resident who usually takes the T to Government Center, put on sneakers as she decided to make the trek to work on foot.

“It says it’s 3 miles to walk so I’m thinking about walking,” she said. “I heard someone say they’ve been here since 8:30 and there’s only been one bus.”

Stein said she was thankful major outages do not happen often.

“It’s a beautiful day,” she said as she prepared to leave Kenmore. “I’m OK.”

Around 9 a.m., a greater influx of shuttle buses picked up passengers and offset the massive crowd numbers.

Nearby, a group of four strangers worked together to split an Uber ride downtown.

“They work at Boylston I think, and we’re going to Copley,” said Martha Ghobrial, a member of the group.

Ghobrial seemed frustrated by the outage and the lack of communication.

“They didn’t actually tell us anything,” she said.

Before she got in her Uber, she turned to the person who called the group’s ride.

“What’s your name, by the way?” she asked. “Nice to meet you.”

By 10 a.m., the rush hour was longer and so were the long lines waiting to board a shuttle bus. Only about 50 people were on the sidewalk at Kenmore and shuttle buses were regularly rumbling through.

Deb Sank, a commuter trying to get to the World Trade Center stop, said the shutdown could have been worse - it could have happened in winter.

“At least it’s a nice day. The last time we were stuck here it was freezing and it was the winter time,’’ Sank said. I’m about to take the Green to the Red to the Silver, so I hope the other two run smoothly.”

Khyree Atkins, 16, said he was kicked off a Green Line train at Kenmore as he was trying to get to Copley Square, where he planned to take a bus to Dorchester. He said he has a flight to catch at 1 p.m., and he wasn’t sure if the delays would make him late.

“I’m worried about not making it,” he said, before two shuttle buses arrived, and people scrambled to get a spot at the front of the lines.

Hynes Convention Center

Riders stuck at Hynes and waiting outside for a shuttle bus watched as a full MBTA bus, marked “Green Line” on the digital screen at the front, drove by without stopping. Some waved, as if trying to flag the vehicle down to stop and pick them up, but it was clear there was no more room.

Tonia Ford, 41, was “a little bit frustrated,” because she was late for work.

“I think they’re doing a good job,” she said of the MBTA, “but this happened like two weeks ago, too. I know they’re trying to do their best, but there has to be a better way.”

Shortly after, a second bus, which was also full, pulled up to take riders to Government Center. People scrambled to get on.

Copley Square

At Copley Square, there were no crowds waiting to board buses. But as the T’s shuttle system kicked in, buses that did arrive near the Boston Public Library appeared to be mostly full with passengers.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Travis Andersen can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.Steve Annear can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.Emily Sweeney can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.