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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Talking Transit: At the end of the day, everything is old and sucks

Last week had a lot of transit news, and a lot of it was pretty good even! Notably, we got the first branch of the Green Line Extension, and the MBTA released their brand spankin’ new five-year capital investment plan. The plan itself showed promise, even though it frustratingly still has no real concrete plan for converting the commuter rail into an electrified regional rail network.

None of that really matters, though, to the average T rider. What matters over the next two weeks or so is the serious service disruptions our system is facing and the tragedy that brought much of them about.

A big reason for the current and upcoming service interruptions is a horrible accident over the weekend where a construction worker fell to his death while working at the Government Center garage. The incident seems to have put the integrity of the Green and Orange Line tunnels downtown at risk, so those are shut down with no real timeline for reopening. Thus, if you go downtown on the Green or Orange Lines, you’re taking a bus between North Station and Back Bay or Government Center for the time being.

The Blue Line will also be partially shut down for about 12 days for laying track. You’ll have to take a bus between Government Center and the Airport station starting this weekend until April 14. If you live in East Boston and are trying to get into downtown or anywhere else in the city, you’ll have some trouble taking the T.

The least of the inconveniences is coming for Red Line riders — they will only need to deal with the line from Harvard to Alewife shutting down for the next two weekends. Not a big deal if you don’t travel between those stops on the weekends, but unfortunate for our community and Davis Square. Bus service replacements are obviously not ideal and can’t match the frequency and speed of trains, but if you’re commuting into the city on the train and not going anywhere on the weekends, you’ll be fine.

That makes for all subway lines’ undergoing significant interruptions, and this weekend and next, they will all be happening at the same time. It’s really unfortunate when this happens, and with such tragedy attached to it as well. It’s worth taking a moment to appreciate the fact that the T can still function with tunnels and tracks as old as they are, and lament the fact that, yeah, our tunnels and tracks are old and they suck. They’re why we don’t have 24/7 train service and just generally can't have nice things with this system.

It’s worth getting mad at, and it’s worth writing to your elected officials about, but the process to change is slow and incredibly resource-intensive. For the time being, it is worth appreciating the transit workers who consistently deal with the challenges posed by our subway and maintain a high quality of service