Orange Line shuttle bus driver says crews are ready for Monday commute

BOSTON — Memphis bus driver Darrence Jerry parked his coach bus outside the Boston Public Library Friday night. The MBTA brought him in from Tennessee to drive an Orange Line shuttle bus for the next 30 days, he said.

He still learning to navigate the streets of Boston.

“[I know the city] a little bit,” Jerry said. ‘I’m an operator, so it doesn’t take me long. I jump in a seat, you give me a map, I do one round trip and I’m good.”

Jerry said he’s met other drivers this week from Houston, Atlanta and San Francisco, hired by the MBTA to operate extra shuttle buses while the T completes an unprecedented amount of work along the Orange and Green lines.

“What people have to understand is that infrastructure is old. It has to be worked on. We did the same thing a few years ago in Baltimore, where they had to shut down the rail system for a month and they brought buses in,” Jerry said.

Still, the shutdown presents a giant inconvenience for thousands. Tanya Cafarella lives in Woburn and works at the Boston University School of Medicine. She expects her commute to take at least two hours Monday morning.

“I’m not happy about this,” Cafarella said. “I’ve already told my boss I don’t know when I’ll get in. It’s an hour and 20 minutes as it is now. I’m worried it’s going to be two hours each way. I’m a mom. I feel like it’s going to be hard.”

Jerry said he hopes commuters understand why the shutdown is important.

“It’s an inconvenience but you have to think about the bigger picture for the long run. [They’re] making repairs here. It might be an inconvenience for you to have to take a shuttle bus, but just think about the long term effects of it.”

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