By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

All aboard the GLX

I didn’t have to come to Northeastern today, but I was excited to try the Green Line Extension, which made its grand debut on Monday. So here I am.

My ride began at the new Medford/Tufts station at Boston and College avenues. It’s a mile and a half from my house and it was c-o-l-d, so my wife dropped me off on her way to work. There are a couple of buses I could have taken, too, although they don’t run as often as they should.

I walked inside the shiny new station, downstairs to the platform and then onto a train. There was no place to pay either before or after boarding, so the handful of us who were riding from Medford got a free pass. I don’t know about the other five new stations, but obviously that’s not a viable business plan; I assume payment options will be coming soon. We sat there for a few minutes in the cold, with the doors open, and then pulled out at 7:27 a.m.

The ride was smooth and a lot zippier than I’m used to on the Green Line. We had a beautiful sunrise view of the Zakim Bridge as we crossed the channel before heading underground. Things began to bog down south of Science Park. The train finally got crowded at North Station, so I put on my mask. And then it was the usual slow roll the rest of the way.

We pulled in to Northeastern at 8:06. Thirty-nine minutes wasn’t bad at all, but it was closer to an hour when you add in getting to the station and then waiting for the train to start moving. I’ll probably stick with my usual commute — I’m a seven-minute walk from the West Medford commuter rail station, which gets me to North Station in 12 minutes. After that, I can take the Orange Line or the Green Line to campus depending on my mood and which comes first.

On the other hand, I’m teaching an evening class this fall, and the commuter rail rarely runs after rush hour. The Green Line may be an attractive alternative to paying for a Lyft.

Finally, a semi-unrelated observation: I couldn’t make out where the Somerville Community Path was, which struck me as odd. On rare occasions, I like to ride my bike to work, and this ought to be a better option than what’s available to me now. The path has been built out to Lechmere and runs along the tracks. I had hoped the path would be extended north to the Medford/Tufts station, but I don’t think that’s the case. From what I can tell, you’ll pick it up at Lowell Street in Somerville.

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  1. Tony Schinella

    I was in Somerville a couple of weeks ago and drove by the station (WMFO’s studio is right there, too) and it was quite impressive.

  2. Dean Ricciardi

    According to the MBTA, riders are supposed to “validate” their fares at one of the machines on the platforms. This is a temporary solution until the new fare collection system is installed. (Source:

    • Dan Kennedy

      I saw those machines, and they look exactly like the ones where you add value to your Charlie Card. I will look more closely the next time. Thank you.

  3. Desirée

    Now we need extensions to the south and southwest of Boston. Communities here are growing fast and the commuter rail does not seem like an affordable option if the plan is for people to use more public transportation. Oh, and the one bus line that we have in Walpole, for example, isn’t either. But I’m happy to see that progress is being done.

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