Test Driving an Orange Line Shuttle Bus: Double the Commute Time Pre-Shutdown

NBC10 Boston rode along with elected officials for a preview of the Orange Line's shuttle bus route from Government Center to Oak Grove

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On board one of the 200 shuttle buses that have been brought in to get Orange Line riders around during the train line's 30-day shutdown, elected officials had questions for the MBTA, hours before the shutdown began Friday.

Many focused on the police enforcement of the many new bus lanes being installed to facilitate the massive endeavor. Who will pay for them? Is there enough staff?

And on a more basic level, "Will these buses have adequate capacity or not?" state Rep. Mike Connolly, of Somerville, wondered.

We've spoken to plenty of MBTA riders ahead of the unprecedented 30-day Orange Line shutdown, which begins Friday night. Here's what some of them had to say.

He was one of a handful of officials who got a preview of the Orange Line's north-bound shuttle route, from one of the two transit hubs planned for the Aug. 19-Sept. 18 shutdown. On Friday, before rush hour began, the shuttle's trip from Government Center to Oak Grove took 40 minutes, double the Orange Line train's usual 20-minute travel time.

"Plan to be late to your destination," said state Rep. Steven Ultrino, of Malden.

(See maps of the Orange Line shuttle bus routes here.)

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People on board the bus saw construction projects paused to allow traffic to flow better but also cars driving in and even parked in bus lanes.

Ultrino appreciates all the preparation work that's been done so far, enabling the T to do years' worth of repair work in weeks, but still has questions about how it will go.

"Time will tell, but that is uncomfortable for me as an elected official to say, 'Oh, time will tell,'" he said.

The 30-day closures of one of the MBTA's main arteries is now hours away.

Ultrino is one of several leaders calling for some of the shuttle buses to run express during the commute, saying the test ride provided their point.

Take a more detailed look at the shuttle bus ride here:

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