Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

April 19, 2013

Boston travel: Trains, buses halted, planes flying

NEW YORK — Mass transportation to and from the Boston area was virtually shut down Friday as police conduct a massive manhunt for one of two suspects in Monday's Boston Marathon bombing. The exception is air travel, as planes continued to take off and land at Logan International Airport.

Authorities in Boston have suspended all mass transit, telling commuters via Twitter: "Go/stay home."

Amtrak has stopped trains north and south of Boston. All major intercity bus lines have suspended service to the area. Passengers are being allowed to get refunds or rebook for travel at a later date. And the airlines are allowing customers to change plans without paying a fee.

Amtrak service about an hour south of the city in Providence, R.I is suspended, as is its entire Downeaster service, which runs from Brunswick, Maine to Boston, according to spokesman Cliff Cole.

Authorities have suspended service on commuter trains into Boston as well as the city's subway — called the T — and the city's buses, including the Silver Line bus between Logan and downtown.

All major highways remained open, according to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. The exception is in Watertown, Mass., the center of the manhunt.

Megabus has canceled at least 18 buses between Boston and New York, New Haven, Conn., Hartford, Conn., Burlington, Vt. and Philadelphia. More than 1,000 passengers were affected, according to spokesman Mike Alvich. They received emails offering a refund or the option to rebook for free.

Bolt Bus, Greyhound and Peter Pan Bus Lines have all also suspended service. Passengers booked on canceled Bolt trips have already received refunds to their credit cards, according to Timothy Stokes, spokesman for Greyhound and Bolt Bus.

Logan airport remained open, although getting there was a challenge for many passengers. On a typical day, the airport has about 1,000 flights, according to flight tracking site FlightAware. Fewer than 10 flights had been canceled by 10 a.m., mostly because of weather delays in New York, according to FlightAware.

JetBlue, the largest airline in Boston with about 120 daily flights, was allowing anybody scheduled to fly to or from Boston to change their ticket for free. Passengers could also opt to fly to Hartford, Providence or any of the New York area airports JetBlue serves.

Delta Air Lines — which has about 70 daily Boston departures — also hadn't canceled any flights in Boston. Spokesman Morgan Durrant said the airline expected on-time departures and is considering extending a travel waiver issued earlier in the week.

American Airlines hadn't canceled any of its 31 daily flights in Boston. The airline was allowing passengers scheduled to fly today to rebook onto flights Saturday or Sunday without penalty, according to spokeswoman Andrea Huguely.

The Federal Aviation Administration imposed an air traffic restriction on the Boston area "to provide a safe environment for law enforcement activities." It bars flights below 3,000 feet in a radius of 3.5 miles around the manhunt area. Such restrictions have minimal impact on commercial flights in the area.

James Kearney was in town for business and managed to make it out on a flight at 10:30 a.m. He said via email that the 15-mile trip from the Marriott in the western suburb of Newton 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.

Colin Alsheimer, who was on a flight from Dallas to Boston Friday morning, said that the manhunt dominated conversations during boarding.

"People were checking for news updates on their phones and talking with their seat neighbors," Alsheimer wrote in an email from the American Airlines flight. He's concerned about "having to hunker down in Logan for a bit" because of the transit shutdown.

Kacey Brister, a senior at Louisiana State University, was supposed to have an interview for a public relations job at a public relations firm 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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