Effects of MBTA’s Subway Shutdown

Ella Lehrich, Contributing Writer

With four different lines providing service for multiple different cities in the Boston area, the Boston subway is the oldest public transport system in the country. On August 12th, 2022, a reader guide to the upcoming closures on the Boston system (also known as the Massachusetts Bay Transport Authority (MBTA)) was released stating, “a full orange line closure from Oak Grove to Forest Hills and Green Line closure from Government Center to Union Square.”

This shutdown has affected the commute around the city for thousands. Through all this planning of the shuttle buses, many Boston residents feel that the MBTA has not adequately accommodate the needs of residents. The closure is especially hurting people in places without many other options—those who are already marginalized in Boston’s society. With the original release of the shuttle plan, the Chinatown stop was left out, leaving many people without their main mode of transportation. An orange line rider told the local channel Boston 10, “Everyone can’t drive. Right now I can’t ride the bike so I don’t know what’s going to happen.” Her options were being taken away through the new system that is in place. This closure most acutely affects those who have historically been neglected by Boston.

With the original release of the shuttle plan, the Chinatown stop was left out, leaving many people without their main mode of transportation

This subway shutdown has not just affected the people who live in the Greater Boston Area, but also those who are trying to travel or visit other cities. A standard press statement from the MBTA stated, “consider rescheduling trips through the area that are not absolutely necessary, or for necessary travel, expect significant traffic congestion and travel delays.” These areas that were once main hubs for travel connections are now out of commission, such as North Station. The issues within the system have also caused extraneously long waits in all locations causing most MBTA riders to feel the effects. Often, the electronic boards will state a wait for over ten minutes, something many people do not have time for.
With the massive closure and the sudden need for many shuttle buses, the MBTA has been forced to get buses from all over. Some have been called in from places as far as California and Canada. With many buses comes many drivers. The MBTA has been supplying many of these drivers with hotel rooms while they stay in Boston, a process that is incredibly expensive for the transit system.
This summer’s shutdown of part of the MBTA has affected many different people. People are being forced to replan their commutes around the closing and can no longer rely on the system to grant them what it used to promise.

This piece also appears in our September 2022 print edition.