Kaitlin McKinley Becker

‘I Hate This Subway System'; Riders Not Happy With First Weekend of Orange Line Maintenance

This weekend marks the first of six weekends with several stops shut down for maintenance repairs

Disruptions on the MBTA's Orange Line are already taking a toll on "T" riders.

This weekend marks the first of six with several stops shut down for maintenance repairs. This scenario will go on every weekend until November 10, but riders weren't happy on day one of the first weekend closure.

"It took me a while to get to work in the morning, took like an extra hour," one man said.

The Orange Line between Sullivan Station and Tufts is shut down for the weekend, not only disrupting riders like Tony Vatalaro's commute but making his frustration boil over.

"I hate this subway system," he said.

But the goal in the work the MBTA is doing for the next six weekends might change his tune. This weekend alone, officials expect to replace 550 feet of track.

"This really is a monumental display of coordination by the MBTA," said MBTA general manager Steve Poftak.

The MBTA says tracks rails have worn out and need to be replaced, as part of the Capital Acceleration Plan. It's a five-year, $8.2 billion investment plan to build a better "T."

"After everybody is done commuting, the station shuts at 1 o clock. You guys got four hours a day to fix the track," Vatalaro said.

Officials say the work they can get done in six consecutive weekends is greater than any work they could accomplish working overnight.

"The only place we can bring in the types of heavy materials like ties and tracks we have to bring them through the surface," Poftak said.

The Orange Line shuts down between Sullivan Station and Tufts at 8:45 p.m. on Friday and resumes at 5 a.m. on Monday.

It's a small inconvenience for hopefully a bigger payoff later.

"It has to get done, it has to get done. So, you just gotta deal with it," the man added.

Shuttle buses are replacing Orange Line service from Sullivan Square through Community College, North Station to Haymarket. At Haymarket, commuters can switch to the Green Line, since the next three stations, State Street, Downtown Crossing, and Chinatown, are not offering bus service.

The Orange Line picks up again at Tufts and then commuters can walk between the Green and Orange lines from Copley to Back Bay.

A bit of good news is that Orange Line fares are waived while track work is happening.

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