BOSTON — Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced increased access to the City’s public bike share, Bluebikes, by offering free 30-day passes during the upcoming MBTA Orange Line shutdown which begins next Friday.
These bike share passes will be available to anyone and provide an unlimited number of 45-minute trips at no cost. Riders can find 400 stations and 4,000 bikes across 11 communities in Metro Boston.
“Biking can be a great alternative for some people during the shutdown,” said Jascha Franklin-Hodge, Chief of Streets. “Opening up and enhancing Bluebikes service is just one of the ways we’re helping residents access good alternatives to their normal transit routes.”
To ensure rider safety, Boston will implement “pop-up” bike lanes on Columbus Avenue and Stuart Street between Clarendon Street and Church Street and on Boylston Street in the Back Bay from Dartmouth Street to Arlington Street.
Friday’s announcement comes just a week after the MBTA decided on the Orange Line closure for a month starting on August 19, in an effort to complete “critical track maintenance” amid mounting safety issues that continue to plague subway service in and around Boston.
Starting at 9 p.m. on Aug. 19, the Orange Line will close through Sept. 18. The revamped line is expected to reopen to riders on Monday, Sept. 19.
“We know that any diversion, particularly like this, will be frustrating to riders. We appreciate their patience as the T implements the short-term work that can result in long-term benefits in a much shorter time frame,” Baker said.
The shutdown 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, according to Poftak.
Wu says city officials have been meeting daily with MBTA and state officials to support the immediate planning of alternate travel methods for commuters.
1. All Zone 1A, 1, and 2 fares can be paid simply by showing a Charlie Card or Charlie Tickets on ALL Commuter Rail lines. Since many Orange Line riders drive to or transfer between buses and the Orange Line, the MBTA is making it easy to access the Commuter Rail before riders get to the Orange Line by allowing all riders to utilize Commuter Rail stations in Zones 1A, 1, and 2 by showing their Charlie Card or Charlie Ticket to a conductor.
2. During these 30 days, 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. During these 30 days, riders can show their Charlie Card or Charlie Ticket to the conductor to access the Commuter Rail. Riders should review the latest Commuter Rail schedule changes as a result of adding these stops, which will be available soon.
3. Seek existing MBTA bus and subway alternatives. Riders can use other existing MBTA bus and subway services to complete their trips.
4. Consider working from home. During this 30-day shutdown, Orange Line riders who are able to work from home are strongly encouraged to do so. The MBTA encourages employers with hybrid work policies to allow employees to work from home as much as possible.
5. Alternative shuttle bus service will be provided. Alternative shuttle bus service will also be provided by MBTA buses. Shuttle bus service will operate in both directions, connecting Oak Grove and Forest Hills stations to downtown Boston. Riders should expect that this alternative shuttle bus service will take longer and be less reliable than the regular Orange Line train service. The MBTA is currently discussing options with the City of Boston for how to best serve the downtown area and will provide updated information soon. This service will be at no cost to riders and fully accessible.
Updates and more information on the City’s ongoing response to the Orange Line shutdown, including information on taking the Commuter Rail, can be found here.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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