Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

MBTA Green Line closure lengthens commute times for students

Arthur Mansavage
MBTA’s Park Street Station.

Between Nov. 27 to Dec. 6, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) closed the Green Line for necessary repairs and to eliminate slow zones. While it reopened Wednesday, additional closures and disruptions are expected throughout 2024.

The closure has had a notable impact on commuters who rely on the Green Line for their day-to-day travels, whether it’s for work, school, or other essential destinations. For many Emerson students, the closure forced them to explore alternative routes and modes of transportation, leading to longer commutes and potential disruptions to classes and jobs. 

“Many of our teachers rely on public transport due to Emerson’s location in the city having poor parking options,” said Serena Breeze, a freshman visual media arts major. “It’s going to affect our learning as they deal with the unexpected expenses of rideshare apps or long walks in the cold. You can’t be fully present to learn or teach when unexpected events like this happen.” 

Even with the MBTA Green Line closure, there are still many alternative ways for public transportation available, including bus fares and commuter rail services, the MBTA said. Still, some are a lot more inconvenient for students in terms of getting to and from campus.

“I did actually look into the bus lines because that’s where I live on the Green Line,” said Jessica Gomez, a junior creative writing major. “And there are no shuttles there. There are shuttles for the C and D lines and the B line, but there’s not a shuttle to get to my line.”

Gomez resides approximately a 45-minute walk from campus near Fenway Park. Despite the different forms of transportation available, the Green Line is the most direct route for many students and the cheapest option. 

While there are other forms of public transportation or lines available, it may take a little longer for people to get to where they need to be. Some students said it can become costly.

“Most of the lines, I would also have to take a bus after, and it just makes the overall trip a lot longer,” said Samuel Grodin, a freshman theater technology and design major. “It takes more time and more money and it just is overall very inconvenient. I can’t imagine trying to navigate a class schedule around the closure.”

Getting to a place that once took 20 minutes on the Green Line now takes nearly 40 minutes to an hour to get to on multiple lines and buses, Grodin added.

“I know a lot of people who didn’t realize the Green Line would be closed and when they came back from the break they had to figure out a last-minute solution to getting back to campus,” Grodin said. 

Boylston Street Station is closed from Nov. 27 to Dec. 6. (Arthur Mansavage/Beacon Staff)

Erin Palacios, a junior journalism major, and her roommate, Liliana Amato, a junior visual media arts major, reside in Brookline and typically take the C line on their commute to campus. Commuting to campus typically takes them around 25 minutes, but with the shutdown, the time has almost doubled. On some occasions, the two have taken Ubers back to their apartments in hopes that it would be quicker and more convenient. 

“I had to get to work, and I end class at six, and then I start work at seven, and so I needed to get to work on time,” said Amato. “It was like $17, and because of traffic, it ended up taking like 45 to 50 minutes anyways.”

An MBTA pass is available for purchase at the start of each semester, and students can get up to 17 percent off of the original price of $90 a month. Many students, especially those who commute, purchased the $320 pass at the beginning of the year in hopes of saving money in the long run.

“I bought [a semester pass] in August and kind of did the math where it’s like, I use the T every day there and back and that’s about $500 for a whole semester, so that saves me $200,” Gomez said. 

Amato, who also purchased a semester pass, mentioned that because some shuttle buses and T stations allow free entry, she has not used her pass.

“I wish I knew about that beforehand because I feel like I didn’t get my money’s worth with the semester pass,” Amato said.

Emerson students like Breeze have also struggled to get to where they need to be without missing classes or any other mandatory events.

“I have to make the choice between attending therapy appointments and eating meals because my therapist’s office is in Back Bay and a relatively long walk from the Orange Line station,” Breeze said. 

The Green Line closure has also increased commuter use on the Orange Line, which may mean that people are waiting longer for a spot on the T to reach their destination. 

“Luckily, I live close enough to the Orange Line to be able to walk [there]. The Orange Line and the Green Line are never closed at the same time,” said Grace Beaulieu, a junior communication science and disorder major. “I am able to take the Orange Line to campus, but the Orange Line is busier now, so I have to leave another half hour early so I can make sure to get a spot.”

Despite the closures, Palacios mentioned that MBTA workers have been incredibly helpful in directing the public on how to get to their destination without using the Green Line. 

“The MBTA workers I’ve come across have been … so informative about this whole thing. I’m grateful for them because sometimes I’ll be trying to get on a bus, and I’m like, ‘Hey, is this going to Kenmore?’” Palacios said. 

The recent Green Line closure is just the first among future ones coming at the start of January. The MBTA is expected to have closures across all lines throughout next year, further hindering the public’s ability to get to their desired destinations. 

“It’s inconvenient, and for people who solely rely on public transport, it can be detrimental,” Grodin said. “Public transit does need a lot of improvements, and I am glad that tax money is going towards it, but I think there need to be alternative modes of transportation offered for the same price and to the same destinations to help compensate for the closed tracks.”

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About the Contributor
Kaitlyn Smitten
Kaitlyn Smitten, Staff Writer
Kaitlyn Smitten (she/her) is a freshman journalism student from Red Deer, Alberta. Canada. Kaitlyn is a part of the Emerson College softball team and enjoys traveling, reading, and listening to music. She aspires to be an investigative and/or breaking news reporter.

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