BOSTON -- "I take this every day," said anesthesia technician Joshua Dye as he walked into the Tufts Medical Center MBTA station.
He plans to get up a lot earlier, once the Orange Line starts its month-long shut-down Friday night. "I'm going to have to start taking the green line, and like either walk here or something like that. That's unfortunate," he said.
Dye is among 2,000 Tufts Medical Center employees who take the Orange Line to and from work, now scrambling for backup plans. Tufts management is arranging shuttles for some employees, and security escorts for those who have to take walking routes.
"I have friends that live in the area, so I'm probably going to see if they would let me stay with them for about a month," said dental student Kris Cabret.
At other stops along the Orange Line, crews have been painting special lanes for alternative shuttles the T set up. Even though Tufts is one of the city's major medical hubs, transportation officials did not put a shuttle stop here.
"It is one of the more challenging geographic areas," said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak at a Monday news conference. "Not possible for us really to run an efficient shuttle down there," he said. "The Boylston stop is a healthy block, but it's a block away from the Chinatown block."
"I come here for doctor's appointments," said one mom visiting with her two daughters. "That's kind of a long walk," she said.
Hospital staff is concerned the pandemic had already kept patients away. "Lots of people put off care, and because of that, we're just seeing patients in general that are sicker and a little bit more fragile. So we are very worried that patients will be concerned enough they put off that care," said Tufts Medical Center COO Diana Richardson.
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