MBTA riders demand better alternatives during shutdowns

BOSTON - There are many changes happening on the MBTA and rider advocates are demanding better alternatives.

On the Red Line, shuttle buses are replacing some service on the Braintree branch at night. The E branch of the Green Line is suspended until August 21. The Orange Line is shutting down next week for a month and in two weeks, the new Green Line extension will close from Government Center to Union Square.

"It's the culmination of decades of underinvestment on the T,"  said Jarred Johnson, Executive Director of TransitMatters.

Johnson said there should be priority lanes for buses so they aren't getting stuck in traffic. 

"I think that the T should consider suspending fares for the entire month of the Green Line and Orange Line shutdowns," said Stacy Thompson, Executive Director of Livable Streets Alliance.

Senator Ed Markey agrees, joining Boston Mayor Michelle Wu in saying these closures couldn't have come at a worse time as college students return to campus with heat and rain on the way. 

"It will be chaos," Wu said. "This is not an ideal situation by any means."

Inconvenient, but necessary to make the system safer, Thompson said.   

"We are unfortunately in a position where there are no good options moving forward," Thompson said. "We really are in a place where of rip the Band-Aid off and do a lot right now and have it be really tough for one month."