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Orange Line is slower, more speed restrictions in place than before shutdown

New data from TransitMatters show the Orange Line is slower than before the 30-day shutdown, despite assertions from the MBTA that it would be faster and more reliable.

Slower trips are due to a large number of speed restrictions that remain in place along the Orange Line, including those that the MBTA added after service resumed last month, said Seth Kaplan, a software engineer who volunteers at the TransitMatters Lab.

“You add on top of it, they cut service to the Orange Line,” Kaplan said, referencing subway service cuts that the MBTA has extended through the fall season. “There are less trains, the trains are more crowded, less reliable, and they’re slower on top of everything.”

“So, it’s kind of a nightmare to say the least,” he added.

Prior to the shutdown, speed restrictions were slowing down the Orange Line by about 6.9 minutes, Kaplan said, but now there’s about twice the amount of slow time, at 14.3 minutes. That number was as high as 30 minutes on Sept. 30, nearly two weeks after service resumed.

Trains are technically slower now than when they were shut down following an Orange Line derailment in March 2021, when there was about 12 minutes of slow time, he said.

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