Boston

Will MBTA Riders Turn to Bikes During Orange Line Shutdown?

Bluebikes is making 4,000 bikes available, offering an unlimited number of free 45-minute rides starting on Friday and lasting for the entire Orange Line shutdown

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With the Orange Line about to come to a halt, swapping the MBTA for a bike could quickly become a popular way to get around.

Becca Wolfson rides her bike just about everywhere, and come Friday she knows she is about to have a lot more company.

"It is going to be one of the fastest, easiest ways to get around," Wolfson said.

Bluebikes is making 4,000 bikes available, offering an unlimited number of free 45-minute rides starting on Friday and lasting for the entire shutdown.

"To keep everyone moving during the Orange Line shutdown," the City of Boston said when it announced it would be offering free 30-day passes to the public bike share system that operates in Arlington, Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Newton, Revere, Salem, Somerville, and Watertown. Passes will be available starting on Aug. 19.

Bluebikes also announced expanded stations and more valets.

Not everyone is onboard with riding a bike, though.

Rashad Paulding commutes from Dorchester to Charlestown every day.

"I come to work at 5:30 in the morning," Paulding said. "You think I'm going to be ready to ride a bike at 5:30 in the morning? I have one eye open."

By the end of the week, the MBTA will suspend service on one of its major arteries. The Orange Line closing Friday night for one month will affect everyone from daily riders, to people who live near stops and students heading to class. A lot of people have unanswered questions about how the shutdown will work. Here's more on the projected impact.
By the end of the week, the MBTA will suspend service on one of its major arteries. The Orange Line closing Friday night for one month will affect everyone from daily riders, to people who live near stops and students heading to class. A lot of people have unanswered questions about how the shutdown will work. Here's more on the projected impact.

The Boston Cyclists Union is also gearing up. It is sponsoring a group ride from Forrest Hill into Boston on Sunday to give bikers a chance to get familiar with the route.

Once the shutdown starts, it is also organizing bike convoys leaving from each end of the Orange Line headed into the city.

Safety is a top concern, with increased traffic, larger shuttle buses and overall more people on the road. The bike union is reminding everyone to take extra safety precautions, from wearing a helmet, to planning your route, to giving those larger shuttle buses plenty of room to operate.

"If we make some infrastructure possible now because of this emergency situation we hope some of it will stay," Wolfson said. "We hope the ridership will stay."

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