April 19, 2013

Boston travel: Trains, buses halted, planes flying

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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Amtrak trains sit idle in a train yard on the south side of Boston Friday, April 18, 2013 as all transit service remains shut down in the Boston area. Two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing killed an MIT police officer, injured a transit officer in a firefight and threw explosive devices at police during their getaway attempt in a long night of violence that left one of them dead and another still at large Friday, authorities said as the manhunt intensified for a young man described as a dangerous terrorist. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

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The Amtrak departures board shows a canceled train to Boston at Penn Station, Friday, April 19, 2013 in New York. Mass transit to and from the Boston area was virtually shut down Friday as police conducted a massive manhunt for a suspect in Monday's Boston Marathon bombing. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

Friday's manhunt capped off a tiring and emotional week for Boston residents.

"This thing just doesn't stop. It's been constant for the past week," said Ian Deason, director of Boston operations for JetBlue, the largest airline in the city with about 120 daily flights.

He noted that pilots and flight attendants resting in a crew lounge prior to their flights were "glued to the TV."

While Friday's mass transit shut down was unusual it wasn't the first closure.

Boston cut off the T for two days in February. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority shut down all bus and train service ahead of Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy. New York also shut down its public transportation system in advance of the storms.

New York's subways shut down after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but limited parts were quickly restored. The first subway car ran just 2 hours and 28 minutes after service was halted, although parts of the system took days to resume.

London's July 7 bombings — in which four suicide bombers detonated themselves aboard three trains and a double-decker bus in 2005 — temporarily crippled the European capital's transit system. The next day, the majority of the system reopened.

In Los Angeles, buses, freeways and the airport were shut down following the 1992 riots. Bus service resumed three days later when schools reopened and a dawn-to-dusk curfew was lifted.

Even when Boston's public transportation system starts up again, some Bostonians are likely to change their behavior.

Maria D'Amico, 23, started this week to only sit in the front or back of the subway.

"If anything happened on the train, it would probably happen in the middle," she said.

Back at the airport, passengers had to adapt with no mass transit linking them to the city center. Private cars, taxis and the Logan Express — a bus service to suburban park-and-ride facilities — were still able to enter the airport.

The biggest hassle for travelers was waiting for a taxi. Brelis described the lines as "exceedingly long" during the late morning. Officials were asking people to share cabs to nearby location. The backlog cleared by afternoon.

James Kearney, an information technology consultant from East Amwell, N.J. was in town for business and managed to make it home on a United flight at 10 a.m. He said via email that the 15-mile trip from the Marriott in the western suburb of Newton, Mass. to Logan on the Massachusetts Turnpike "was extremely quiet during rush hour."

Once at the airport, he said, the situation was "pretty standard."

"Even security was fast and uneventful," Kearney wrote.

Kacey Brister, a senior at Louisiana State University, was supposed to have an interview for a public relations job in Boston at 3 p.m. Friday. She was flying on Southwest Airlines from New Orleans to Boston via St. Louis.

Before boarding the last leg of her trip, Brister said that everyone was fairly calm at the gate.

"The biggest concern for most people was how they were going to get from Logan to their hotel, home," she wrote in an email, adding that there was "a sense of camaraderie between passengers."

Not everyone was so calm, however. "My mother has begged me" to turn around, she said.

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