New Green Line stations make off-campus commutes faster—though just barely

By Gabel Strickland, Beacon Correspondent

The MBTA opened two new Green Line stations on Monday, shaking up the commutes for scores of off-campus college students traveling to and from Emerson and other Boston-area institutions and revitalizing the oldest public transit system in the nation.

The new stations, at Amory Street and Babcock Street in Brookline, are a consolidation of four previous stations along the Green Line’s B Branch, which runs from Boston College to Government Center. They are part of the transit agency’s “Green Line Transformation” project, which ultimately aims to increase the line’s speed and efficiency while expanding it to Somerville in the north.

“Anything to help the T stations, because a lot of people use [the T],” said Bethania Bartholomew, a first-year student at Boston University.

Waiting for the inbound train at Amory Street station, Bartholomew welcomed the improvements to the city’s public transit service, which she described as “the easiest way for a college student to get around.”

Amory Street replaces the former stations of St. Paul Street and Boston University West, while the new Babcock Street station supplants two previous stops, Babcock and Pleasant Streets. The original four stops, three of which closed on Monday and one in February, created a “bottleneck” that caused outbound trains to be delayed. 

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With the consolidation, the MBTA estimates that a minute will be shaved off of the commute from Packard’s Corner to Kenmore.

While Amory Street was not the only new station to be opened as part of the project, its creation was certainly the most drastic change to the Green Line. It closed two functioning stations to create a bigger one and has been outfitted with many new features: 150-foot canopies to shelter riders, safety barriers between the station and the roads, raised 225-foot platforms for easier boarding, countdown clocks, digital screens, benches, lights, and emergency call boxes.

“The new stations look a lot nicer and have been modernized,” said senior visual and media arts major Joey Ploscowe. “For example, they added the digital signs you see on the underground stops that tell you when the next train is coming.”

Nevertheless, Ploscowe, who takes the Green Line from Allston to Emerson in the mornings and afternoons, said he was skeptical that the new stations would significantly improve his commute; while his ride may have been a few minutes quicker, he said the change had not been very evident thus far. 

“Honestly, I haven’t even noticed any major changes [in travel time] with the decommissioned stations,” Ploscowe said. “It’s definitely quicker going through those BU stops, but I guess my commute still feels long.”

Other passengers agreed. Jason, who waited for the next inbound train, said that while he enjoyed the T’s new clocks and platforms, “speed-wise it feels about the same.”

Liam, a part-time Boston University student waiting for the next outbound train at Amory Street, agreed that it was hard to notice any change in the train’s speed—though he conceded that the MBTA had successfully refurbished the new station with modernized structures and equipment. 

“It’s a lot easier to wait around for the train, for sure,” he said. “I wouldn’t say it’s faster, but I’d say it’s a better wait.” 

The Amory Street Station is only the sixth of 15 projects to be completed within the Green Line Transformation. The rest are still in progress, making Amory Street Station the first in a long line of changes Boston will see on the Green Line.