BOSTON (State House News Service) — The MBTA will add a "circulator" shuttle bus and expand Silver Line service to help connect Chinatown to other destinations during the upcoming Orange Line shutdown, T General Manager Steve Poftak said Thursday.
After receiving substantial feedback from city of Boston officials and riders, Poftak said the MBTA would bulk up service alternatives for Chinatown and Tufts Medical Center, two downtown Boston stations that will lose subway access Friday night when the Orange Line goes dark for 30 days.
The T will run a supplemental shuttle bus connecting Government Center, Tufts Medical Center, and Chinatown in a loop every 30 minutes between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. and between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m., Poftak said. The Silver Line 4 route will also add an outbound stop at Chinatown, and Poftak said MBTA officials are working on boosting frequency on that line as well.
During the unprecedented shutdown, the MBTA plans to launch a massive fleet of shuttle buses in two legs, one making stops between Forest Hills in Jamaica Plain and Boston's Copley station and the other connecting Oak Grove in Malden with Government Center. The T will not run shuttle buses connecting those two Boston endpoints, and riders will instead be urged to switch to the Green Line for downtown service.
"Running buses through the heart of downtown Boston is extraordinarily challenging," Poftak said during a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce webinar Thursday. "We've tried to address that by piggybacking on the Green Line here. We're also going to try and run as much additional service on the core of the Green Line as we can as well to absorb the needs of our customers."
Poftak said the Green Line's Boylston Station, which is "roughly a block away" from both the Chinatown and Tufts Medical Center stops on the Orange Line, is not accessible, so the T will also make vans available at Park Street and Copley stations for riders with accessibility needs.
Written by Chris Lisinski, SHNS