MBTA Diversions Aug-Sep: Orange Line, Green Line

Updated 9/19/22 

Regular service on the Orange Line has been resumed as of 9/19/22. The A Better City TMA & Allston Brighton TMA team will archive this webpage in the coming days. 

Within the context of extensive and unprecedented MBTA service disruptions related to the Federal Transit Administration’s ongoing evaluation and interventions regarding system safety, A Better City and Allston Brighton TMAs are creating this resource to support our members’ efforts related to commuter mobility during this time.  

We remind members that it is of critical importance to disincentivize single occupancy vehicle (SOV) commuting. This is true from a congestion and pollution standpoint, and also to ensure the 200 shuttle buses that will be in use during this shutdown have as much road space as possible. There are many options still available, including cycling, carpooling, walking, telework, and other alternatives that are accessible to your commuters through the portal at GoMassCommute.

Scroll down or click the following links to navigate to our subsections:


 

Resources from the MBTA 

For the most up-to-date information on service diversions and MBTA-provided alternatives, we encourage members to visit these MBTA resources directly: 

Orange Line shutdown 8/19 – 9/18

Most impacted employee groups: 
  • Employees along commuter rail lines ending at North Station 
  • Employees traveling from Malden, Medford, Somerville, Charlestown, the North End, Chinatown, Back Bay, the South End, Roxbury, and Jamaica Plain 

Are you affected in a way that isn't listed here? Reach out to us at mrivera@abettercity.org to let us know!

SHUTTLE BUS SERVICe: 
Supplemental Service at Government Center, Tufts Medical, and Chinatown:
  • Supplemental shuttles and an additional outbound SL4 stop at Surface Artery and Kneeland St in Chinatown will serve downtown neighborhoods and the Tufts Medical community. The free, accessible shuttles will run approximately every 30 minutes, connecting Tufts Medical CenterChinatown, and Government Center.

  • Note: Due to limited shuttle schedules and regular traffic congestion in the area, riders are still encouraged to consider the Green Line, walking, or biking as primary service alternatives.

 

*Announced 9/1/22, additional Commuter Rail trains will on multiple lines stop at Forest Hills, both inbound and outbound. Read the full details in the press alert here.  

Commuter Rail alternatives from the MBTA website: 

 

MBTA.COM/OLTRACK

MBTA RIDER GUIDE

MBTA STUDENT RIDER GUIDE

GREEN LINE SHUTTLE DIVERSION BETWEEN GOVERNMENT CENTER AND UNION SQUARE 8/22 – 9/18

Most impacted employee groups: 
  • Employees along commuter rail lines ending at North Station 
  • Employees traveling from Somerville, East Cambridge, the West End, and the North End 

Are you affected in a way that isn't listed here? Reach out to us at mrivera@abettercity.org to let us know!

 

  MBTA.COM/GLXSHUTTLE

 

For detailed trip planning the MBTA has an online tool available here. To use it, simply input your starting point, destination, date and time you’d like to use the service and it will offer trip itineraries available at that day/time.  

 


BLUEBIKES

The City of Boston is offering free 30-day passes for Bluebikes, Boston's public bikeshare system, during the upcoming MBTA Orange Line shutdown. In addition to these bikeshare passes, Bluebikes will be enhancing service in the following ways:

FREE PASSES
  • The City of Boston is offering free 30-Day Passes during the Orange and Green Line MBTA closures. Between 8/19/22 and 9/18/22, anyone will be able to get a pass good for an unlimited number of 45-minute trips at no cost, no matter where they live.

  • Starting 8/19/22, you can sign up for a free 30-day pass by:

    1. Downloading the Bluebikes app or visiting bluebikes.com to join or log in to your account.

    2. Selecting "Monthly Membership"

    3. Checking out a bike using your mobile app, Bluebikes key, or credit or debit card. Take as many rides as you want. Your first 45 minutes are FREE. Overage fees or lost bike fees will be your responsibility.

    4. Returning the bike to a station after your trip

     

  • If you currently have a monthly pass that will auto-renew between 8/19 and 9/18, you will not be charged for the new pass.

ADDING VALETS
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA is sponsoring valets at select locations and times to create more capacity at some of the busiest stations. Refer to the System Map page for real time valet service. Look for the Valet icon at your destination station to confirm service is active.

EXPANDING STATIONS
  • The City of Boston is adding docks to select stations to increase capacity and make sure it’s easy to dock when and where you need to. The following stations will have increased capacity:

    • Ruggles
    • Stony Brook
    • Boylston St at Dartmouth St
    • Boston City Hall - 28 State St
    • Congress St at Boston City Hall
    • Washington St at Williams St

 

For additional information, utilize the following resources:

 

 

  FREE BLUEBIKES 30 DAY MEMBERSHIP

 

Employers and property managers who do not already offer subsidized Bluebikes membership to employees and tenants can explore the benefits, impacts, and cost options for this impactful mobility incentive through the below TMA resources.  

 


RESOURCES FROM THE CITY OF BOSTON

In addition to the free 30-day Bluebikes passes, the City of Boston is also providing resources and support on their "Orange Line Shutdown in Boston" website. This website includes information on:

SHUTTLES & STREET CHANGES
  • All-day Chinatown Shuttle Service

    • The City of Boston has contracted with a third-party transportation provider to offer shuttle service in the Chinatown area during daytime hours. This service supplements the early-morning and nighttime service provided by the MBTA. Previously, the MBTA’s shuttle did not provide service to Chinatown during peak and midday hours.

      Starting Friday, September 2, this joint shuttle route will run every 30 minutes from 5 a.m. until 1 a.m. the next day. Both City and MBTA shuttles will use the same stops and will have integrated signage to guide riders. The combined City and MBTA shuttle services will run through September 19. 

      The Chinatown shuttle will operate between Government Center and Tufts Medical Center/Chinatown Stations. Each shuttle will seat at least 14 passengers and be ADA compliant via ramp or lift. There will be at least one designated seat for wheelchair users.

  • MBTA Shuttle Service
    • The shuttle service will bring as many as 200 shuttle buses onto City streets. To allow these shuttles to move safely and efficiently, the City is implementing multiple changes, including bus lanes, transit-only areas, and parking restrictions. Since Sunday, City crews have been changing street markings and signage to create transit hubs at Copley Square and Government Center. This includes dedicated bus lanes, parking restrictions, and curb space to allow shuttle buses to load passengers and queue. 

       

  • Upcoming Street Changes

    • The City will continue to implement bus lanes, transit-only areas, and parking restrictions to keep the MBTA’s two main shuttle routes (between Oak Grove and Government Center, and between Forest Hills and Copley) running safely and efficiently.

    • City crews have begun preparations for a priority bus lane on Huntington Avenue to support the Route 39 bus, a popular alternative service for Orange Line riders. Striping and signage is completed around North Station, with dedicated pop-up bus lanes on Staniford Street and Nashua Street. In Jamaica Plain, street changes are complete, with bus lanes on Boylston Street from Amory to Lamartine Street and on Washington Street. There are also street parking restrictions on Amory Street in key locations.

    • At key diversion intersections across the Orange Line route, Boston police officers and cadets are helping to direct traffic for drivers and pedestrians.
    • The City of Boston has installed tents to keep riders dry and shaded at key stops, including at: Government Center, Copley Square, Massachusetts Avenue, Jackson Square, North Station, and Community College.

       

  • Street Closures
    • Several streets will be closed to general traffic to allow shuttle operations, including: 

      • State Street between Congress Street and Washington Street
      • Dartmouth Street between St. James Street and Boylston Street
      • Washington Street (northbound-only) between Arborway and Williams Street
      • For a full list of road closures and traffic restrictions, please see the following document.  For specific questions regarding street closures, email orangeline@boston.gov.
ALTERNATIVE FORMS OF TRAVEL
  • Commuter Rail:

    • During the 30-day shutdown, riders can use the Commuter Rail within the City of Boston at no charge simply by showing  a CharlieCard or CharlieTicket on board. This encompasses Zones 1A, 1, and 2 on all Commuter Rail lines.

      The CharlieCard does not need to be loaded with funds to access the Commuter Rail. Simply show your CharlieCard to the conductor to ride the train. The City of Boston distributes CharlieCards at Boston Public Libraries through its CharlieCard Access Initiative

  • Silver Line
    • To help the Chinatown community, the City worked with the MBTA to get a stop added to the Silver Line - SL4 outbound route. The Surface Artery @ Kneeland Street stop creates direct access to Chinatown from South Station. This is an important connection for previous southern route Orange Line riders who have switched to the Commuter Rail during the shutdown.

      City transit officials are working on wayfinding street markings in Chinatown and translated guides. 

  • Bike Lanes and Access
    • Preparations are being finalized for a temporary bike lane on Boylston Street in the Back Bay. This will provide a safe and protected bike connection from Dartmouth Street, the end of the shuttle bus route, to the separated bike lanes that begin at Arlington Street.
    • Temporary separated bike lanes: have been installed on Columbus Avenue in the South End, and will be added on the Alford Street Bridge in Charlestown.
  •  Bluebikes
    • To keep everyone moving during the Orange Line shutdown, the City of Boston is offering free 30-day passes to Bluebikes, the City of Boston's public bike share, during the upcoming MBTA Orange Line shutdown. Starting on August 19, passes will be available on the Bluebikes website and in the mobile app. 
ACCESS FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITES AND SENIORS
  • Shuttle Buses

    • While some low-floor buses with ramps at the front of the bus will be in use, the majority will be high-floor coach buses with wheelchair lifts near the rear of the bus.
  • Shuttle Stops
    • The City of Boston is designating curb space that is dedicated to accessible vans in addition to the curb space designated for shuttles. The City of Boston has assessed the shuttle stops for accessible routes and level landings for lifts and ramps of shuttle buses and vans.
  • Accessible Vans
    • Approximately 20 wheelchair accessible vans will be available upon request at Orange Line stations. Anyone with a disability can request a van. These vans will be a combination of ramp-equipped and lift-equipped vehicles.
    • Accessible vans (including MV1s) will service all Orange Line stations, including those not serviced by the shuttle buses.
  • The RIDE
    • RIDE trips that begin and end within ¾ mile of the Orange Line will be free for RIDE users during the 30-day shutdown. 
  • Commuter Rail
    • TAP passes can be used in place of Charlie Cards for access to the Commuter Rail at no charge. For more information on accessibility, see the Commuter Rail Access Guide.
  • View the City of Boston's Accessibility Guide for Orange Line Shutdown here.

 

  BOSTON.GOV/ORANGELINE

 


Cycling Routes 

  • The Northern Strand Trail, Watertown-Cambridge Greenway, and Charles River Bike Path are three major offroad cycling paths that provide connectivity from points north and northwest of Boston. 
  • MAPC’s Trail Map includes the above routes along with details on bike lanes, protected bike lanes, and other cycling infrastructure into and around downtown Boston. 
  • The Boston Cyclists Union is organizing and leading daily convoy rides during the shutdown to help beginner riders confidently navigate the streets on two wheels! Daily rides will span several routes such as: Jackson Square to Somerville, Stony Brook to Government Center, Roslindale to Longwood Medical Center, Assembly to Tufts Medical Center, Wellington to Downtown Boston, and more. Get in touch with the Boston Cyclists Union and ride leaders to join a convoy here.
  • There will be new temporary bike-bus lanes and bike lanes for riders to use during the shutdown. Visit the MassBike website to learn more about biking with buses.
  • Additionally, GoMassCommute, available through your TMA membership, provides a Trip Planning Tool to help commuters interested in biking plan their routes and match with bikepools in the area. Learn more about the features below. 

COMMUNITy Resources 

COUNCILOR KENDRA LARA

ORANGE LINE CLOSURE TRAVEL GUIDE

BOSTON CYCLISTS UNION

DAILY CONVOY RIDES
  • The Boston Cyclists Union is organizing and leading daily convoy rides during the shutdown to help beginner riders confidently navigate the streets on two wheels! Daily rides will span several routes such as:
    • Jackson Square to Somerville
    • Stony Brook to Government Center
    • Roslindale to Longwood Medical Center
    • Wellington to Downtown Boston
    • and more!
    • Learn more about the daily convoy rides here.

MISSION HILL LINK

FREE RIDES DURING ORANGE LINE SHUTDOWN
  • The Mission Hill Link will be free for riders during the Orange Line Shutdown. The Link provides service to:
    • Brigham Circle
    • Ruggles
    • Roxbury Crossing
    • and more!
    • Access the LINK weekdays from 10:30 AM - 6:30 PM and learn more about the LINK here and route options here.

TMA Mobility Resources 

Cycling Support 

Across multiple rounds of member workforce ZIP analysis and citywide surveying of Boston-based employees, A Better City + Allston Brighton TMAs have repeatedly found that most commuters live within 10 miles of their workplace. Using a bicycle or e-bike to travel to the worksite is a convenient yet underexplored option for many. The below resources can help interested employees get started: 

Resources Available in GoMassCommute 

TMA members have access to a wealth of resources supporting a first-time bike commute via GoMassCommute: 

Carpool Matching 

Commuters associated with TMA member properties can sign up or log in to their GoMassCommute account to explore carpool matches as a passenger or driver. 

Vanpool Administration 

TMA member organizations can use GoMassCommute to create, organize, and administer vanpool programs. Please reach out to mrivera@abettercity.org to get started as an administrator. 

Zip Mapping 

For a deeper analysis of your workforce mobility profile to help understand the impact of any future disruptions upon your workforce and identifying alternatives for impacted commuters, consider engaging the TMA team for employee ZIP analysis. See an example analysis below and reach out to mully@abettercity.org for next steps.