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Shuttle Bus Shuffle: Bus fleet replacing Orange Line makes 1st full-day debut during shutdown – Boston News, Weather, Sports

MALDEN, MASS. (WHDH) – Dozens and dozens of buses made their shuttling debut in and around Boston Saturday during the first full-day of the Orange Line shutdown.

From Oak Grove to Forest Hills, residents and visitors were greeted with the sight of shuttle buses picking up riders now that rail service for the Orange Line has been iced for 30 days for crucial repairs.

Though the new bus system will not get its first real test until Monday when it comes time for the weekday commute, the shuttle service was firing on nearly all cylinders Saturday, with mixed results, according to some riders.

“We picked up a shuttle bus at Assembly that (was) supposed to come to Oak Grove and we ended up heading south,” Guilherme Nogales told 7NEWS. “So, it is a little bit confusing.”

Nogales said his commute to Malden doubled in time after his shuttle bus driver picked up riders at the wrong stop. His theory: some drivers are still learning the routes.

Some 160 buses will be trying to replicate the Orange Line’s route, replacing a rail service that carried an average 100,000 riders daily, all while the MBTA performs overdue repairs to the tracks and more.

7NEWS cameras saw crews busy at work Saturday, operating with a goal of squeezing in five years’ worth of work during the month-long shutdown.

As far as first days go, Saturday may end up feeling like more of a warm-up compared to the real test on Monday, when most commuters hit the road, one way or another.

“I’m expecting it to be overwhelming, I’m expecting it to be very busy and crazy,” one local told 7NEWS when asked how she thought Monday would play out.

While officials have been highlighting alternatives to the Orange Line all throughout the run-up to the shutdown, avoiding a work commute altogether and going remote if possible could be the best solution for some.

“(I’ll) probably be heading to work less often than I’m used to – I’m already trying to arrange that schedule, saying ‘maybe more remote work than extra work in the office,” Nogales said.

The shutdown is expected to run from Aug. 19 to Sept. 18.

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