BOSTON, MA – A potentially disruptive shutdown for the Orange Line region begins Friday at 9 p.m., when the MBTA’s carrot-colored trains will go silent until the morning of September 19.

Oh, and they’re also closing the Union Branch of the Green Line. And school is starting soon – luckily there aren’t any major colleges along the Orange Line.

During the shutdown, the T will be able to make about 5 years’ worth of repairs, including upgrading the tracks and electrical systems, officials have said.

And while local elected officials and transportation leaders are throwing around words like “unprecedented” and “emergency” (and actually advised people to simply avoid Boston during the shutdown), there are plenty of ways to get around the dead Orange Line until on September 19. .

Boston Patch has compiled a list of travel options and incentives available throughout the region so you can best plan your detour.

Passenger railway

Officials have called this the best option because the Franklin Line essentially runs the same route as the Orange Line between Forest Hills and South Station. Ditto for the Haverhill line, which stops at Reading, Melrose and Malden before hitting North Station.

And commuter rail rides across Boston and the suburbs will be FREE during the Orange Line closure. Anyone with a Charlie Card will be allowed to travel for free in zones 1a, 1 and 2. View the fare zone map here to see how far the free limit extends.


If the weather is nice and you’re traveling from south of downtown Boston, biking can be a really great option. The Southwest Corridor – which won’t be closed for two weeks as previously planned – offers a car-free route, which is great for beginners. The Boston Cyclists Union is also stepping up to offer amenities like free bike tunes and group rides. See BCU’s guide to cycling during closure.

Additionally, Bluebikes will be free for the entire shutdown. Blue Cross is also offering free Bluebikes valet at busy stations during peak travel times. Visit the bike share website to find valet stations.

Shuttle buses

The shuttle buses will be the MBTA’s direct replacement for the Orange Line. Buses will follow city streets between Oak Grove and State Street, and between Forest Hills and Copley. See the full map here. Ships will have their own lanes, but it’s a good bet they’ll be stuck in regular traffic.

MBTA buses

Regular buses also serve parts of the Orange Line, including Silver Line 4 and 5, and Routes 39 (Forest Hills to Back Bay), CT2 (Sullivan Square to Ruggles/Northeastern), 92 and 93 (Sullivan Square to Downtown Crossing) and 43 (Ruggles to Park Street/Boston Common). The MBTA this week also added a stop along Silver Line 4 at Kneeland Street to bypass South Station and Chinatown.

The Mission Hill LINK shuttle will be free during the closure, offering rides between Longwood, Northeastern, Brigham Circle and Heath Street. See the map here.


I’m sorry, haven’t you seen the MassDOT nuclear fallout map? Driving is a drag during regular times and gas is expensive, so just skip it.


The 2022-2023 Boston Public Schools year begins on August 31. Many children take the Orange line and they will mostly be directed to commuter rail trains. BPS has purchased 5,000 CharlieCards for students and will excuse late students hurt by the closure. Schools will also provide breakfast after the first bell for late students.


Boston will host pop-up mobility centers at Copley Square and Government Center to help commuters figure out how to transfer between buses and other subway lines. There will also be red-shirted MBTA ambassadors out in force to assist commuters. Bus stops will be clearly marked with large orange flags with the word “shuttle”.

Here is a link to the T’s official orange line shutdown guide.

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