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MBTA shuttle bus service to Chinatown, Tufts will be limited during Orange Line shutdown

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Shuttle bus service to Chinatown and Tufts Medical Center stations, which the MBTA added following community backlash, will be limited to early morning and nighttime hours during the Orange Line shutdown.

MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said Thursday the supplemental shuttle will run from Government Center to Tufts Medical Center to Chinatown, and then back to Government Center, every 30 minutes from 5-7 a.m. and 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.

“It doesn’t really help us at all,” said Tufts COO Diana Richardson. “It may help a little for staff with early or late shifts, but no improvement for patients given the hours of operation.”

The Chinatown shuttle stop will be located on Washington Street at the corner of Essex, just before the crosswalk. The Tufts Medical Center stop will also be on Washington Street, the T said.

“That is essentially going to be a circulator there,” Poftak said at a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce event focused on the Orange Line shutdown, which begins Friday at 9 p.m.

Poftak said Monday the two Chinatown stations had been excluded from the replacement bus shuttle route due to the challenging geography of the area, which already sees a lot of congestion. He said the T reconsidered those plans following feedback from the community and City of Boston politicians, who penned a letter to Poftak opposing the neighborhood’s exclusion.

The T is also adding a stop on the Silver Line 4 outbound bus route at Chinatown, at the intersection of Surface Artery and Kneeland Street, which it did not previously have, and has tentative plans to increase frequency on that route, Poftak said.

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