The MBTA will be shutting down the Orange Line for 30 days beginning August 19 to accelerate needed major track and maintenance work.
The shutdown will begin approximately 9 pm on August 19 through September 18 with service resuming on September 19.
The MBTA said the 30 day shutdown will provide an opportunity to finish several projects five years faster than originally planned. That work includes track repair, tie replacement, concrete work, and more along the Southwest Corridor, which will improve reliability.
Other projects include track replacement, upgrading signal systems, and station improvements. The MBTA will also be able to complete required track maintenance associated with Federal Transit Association (FTA) directives as quickly as possible.
“Thirty days of 24-hour access to the Orange Line replaces over five years of weekend diversions needed to address delays and slow zones. We can eliminate slow zones, prevent unplanned service disruptions, and increase the reliability of our service. Perhaps most importantly, we will provide the quality of safety and service that our riders deserve," said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak.
Statistically speaking, the Orange Line provides approximately 101,000 trips each day with ridership approximately 49% of what it was prior to the pandemic.
The MBTA created a special designated webpage for updates about the shutdown and work at mbta.com/BBT2022.
The following is a list of alternative travel options for Orange Line riders provided by the MBTA:
- Enhanced Commuter Rail Options: Orange Line riders who must commute downtown are strongly encouraged to use the Commuter Rail as an alternative as the MBTA is making a series of changes in service to accommodate the change in travel patterns:
- All Zone 1A, 1, and 2 fares can be paid simply by showing a CharlieCard or CharlieTickets 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 CharlieCard or CharlieTicket to a conductor.
- 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 CharlieCard or CharlieTicket 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.
- Seek existing MBTA bus and subway alternatives. Riders can use other existing MBTA bus and subway services to complete their trips.
- 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.
- Alternative shuttle bus service will be provided. Earlier today, the MBTA Board of Directors approved an approximately $37 million contract for shuttle bus service to Yankee Line, Inc. 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 regular Orange Line train service. The MBTA is currently discussing options with the City of Boston for how to best service the downtown area and will provide updated information soon. This service will be at no cost to riders and fully accessible.
- Parking: The MBTA will continue to charge for parking at MBTA lots and facilities at Orange Line stations, and will communicate lost-parking impacts related to staged shuttle buses in advance if necessary.