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‘This would never fly in Brooklyn’


Maria Yelenia Peña-Perez is from New York City originally, though she’s been studying criminal justice in Boston for a couple of years now.

There are a lot of differences between the two cities, the 23-year-old said — not the least of which is how late the nightlife goes — but the most immediate and apparent difference is the health of the commuter system.

“This would never fly in Brooklyn,” she said. “I take the trains everywhere when I’m home. I swear Boston is actually a bus and shuttle city where sometimes you catch a train.

“There are more signs for missing trains than trains,” she said, pointing at a “Shuttle service this way” sign.

Peña-Perez, alone at first outside North Station’s impromptu shuttle stop, was quickly joined by dozens of other passengers, many of whom actively questioned the MBTA ambassadors standing by to provide directions Monday morning.

On Friday, an announced shutdown of the Orange Line for 30 days of repairs began. Monday marked the start of four weeks of Green Line extension closure. Commuters, for the most part, did not seem surprised or too angry about the service disruptions, with many taking the changes in stride.

“I was using the Orange Line because my regular train has been down for two weeks,” Amy Martinez of Boston said. “Now the Orange Line is down so I’m using shuttles. What can you do?”

“It could have been worse,” Jamie Winslow, who chose to bike into downtown from Watertown, said.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Doughty and his running mate, former state. Rep. Kate Capanale, were on hand to witness the shuttle shifts at North Station, where both said they were not surprised to find people amicable to the change of service.

“People seem optimistic but confused,” Doughty said. “I think people were ready for it. I think expectations were set and I think most people understand that maintenance needs to happen.”

One commuter said his ride was made no worse by the addition of more cars on the road.

“After all of the hype about the simultaneous shutdown of both the Orange and Green Lines, the commute today was unremarkable,” John Walsh of Lynnfield said. “Many commuters, like me, have long given up the Orange Line, as it was more time-consuming and cost-neutral. Now that Boston continues without missing a beat despite rapid transit being shut down, the T needs to justify why we should throw more money into rapid transit.”

Obviously not everyone was so upbeat about the inconvenience.

“I started a new job so I been trying to use the commuter rail to get to work,” Ben Gibson of Billerica said. “Already an hour and a half into my morning and I’m not there yet, so, you know, not a great situation.”

“An absolute confusing nightmare. I can’t even deal with this right now,” Lydia Patel of Boston said after asking an MBTA worker for directions to the right shuttle.

“Tear it up, start over,” Michael Schmitt said. He works in the North End but commutes from south of Boston, he said. Schmitt said every problem with the MBTA is a problem he has to deal with and that the state should start fresh. “Bro, what else can you do? If it was a leg they would have amputated by now.”



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