Many local residents who use those stops for business; medical & social reasons will be affected by move
A decision by MBTA planners to skip the two Chinatown Orange Line stops in downtown Boston when they devised the shuttle bus plan which is designed to mitigate the effects of the August 19-September 19 service shutdown is being challenged. The plan now in place – where the bus shuttle service would bypass Chinatown and Tufts Medical Stations – would also have an impact in Malden and surrounding communities, due to the large immigrant and Asian-American community in this region. Both of those stations, along with the Downtown Crossing and State stops, are the only four Orange Line stops now excluded from the transit plan.
Many Malden residents and others in the greater Boston region make frequent trips to those Chinatown stops for work, business and social reasons. Malden has the third-highest ratio of Asian Americans in Massachusetts to total population, percentagewise, with 25.9%, behind only Lexington (33%) and Quincy (30.9%), according to the 2020 U.S. Census. Malden also has the fifth-highest numerical population of Asian Americans in Massachusetts with 17,151.
Boston itself has a large Asian American population with just over 76,000 residents, about 11% overall.
In a letter presented on Tuesday to MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak, Boston-based city and state politicians urged the MBTA to reconsider its plans to exclude both Chinatown and Tufts Medical Center Stations from the shuttle bus route during the 30-day shutdown that begins on Friday. The letter, which was signed by Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, Boston City Council President Ed Flynn, State Senators Nick Collins and Lydia Edwards and State Representative Aaron Michlewitz, asked that at least one of the two Chinatown stops be included in the T’s alternate transit plan for the Orange Line shutdown.
In the letter it is stated, “The Chinatown T stop is always widely used, particularly for seniors and workers in Chinatown, and the lack of shuttle bus stops at either Tufts Medical Center or Chinatown will make travel extremely difficult for residents and workers in the area.” The letter goes on to explain that many residents in the neighborhood, which includes a large immigrant population, most of whom do not own or have access to a motor vehicle, use the T to get to and from Chinatown.
Also, many people, including those who live in the area, use the Orange Line to go to Tufts Medical Center.
The alternate transit plan for that area encourages MBTA riders to use either the Green Line or the Silver Line (downtown Boston) bus service to navigate the routes while the Orange Line is shut down.
Particularly, the Green Line Boylston Street stop is closest to the area and is one block away from the Orange Line stop. The Silver Line buses also run close by to those Orange Line stops.
The Boston politicians expressed concerns that the immigrant population with limited English-speaking skills might have a lot of difficulty with the changes and shutdown, adding that a top priority should be translation of any informational materials into Chinese.