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Getting from Logan to Tremont Ctyd. on the T - Help locals!

Getting from Logan to Tremont Ctyd. on the T - Help locals!

Old Sep 25th, 2010, 12:55 PM
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Getting from Logan to Tremont Ctyd. on the T - Help locals!

My husband and I are flying into Boston next Thurs. (9/30) for a few days before picking up a car and spending 2 wks. driving through New England. With the high hotel prices (I understand maybe higher than usual in Oct. partly because of people doing just what we're doing), we decided to use some Marriott points and stay at the Courtyard Downtown Tremont, hoping to get a Platinum upgrade that will let us avoid the smallest of the rooms there.

As we're traveling quite a bit in retirement, we're happy to save the cost of a lunch by using public transportation instead of taxis when reasonable. Looking at the T map, it would appear that we could take the silver line from Logan to South Station, then transfer to another silver line to Tufts or take a taxi or walk; or we could take the blue line to State, transfer to the orange to Tufts or walk. We will have largish rolling bags of about 40 lb. and smaller carry-ons with cameras, laptop, etc. The current weather forecast is for showers on Thursday.

Some of our public transportation adventures have included my hauling a heavy trunk up steep stairs out of the El in Chicago; schlepping luggage on a detour past a broken Tube escalator through what seemed like miles of white-tiled tunnels with three steps down, five steps up, four steps down, three steps up, ad infinitum, in London; and exiting the Athens Metro directly across the street from our hotel only to find that the "street" was a 6-lane highway with a chainlink fence down the middle and the nearest crossing was 1/4 mi. away. The luggage/stairs incidents were 10 or more years ago and we're getting too old for this stuff. We have certainly learned the hard way that things are not always what they seem on a 2-dimensional map.

We were last in Boston over 20 years ago and don't recall riding the T, so we have probably not been on the T since about 1972 (maybe since Charlie got stuck there). Thus we have no idea what the stations and trains are like, especially with luggage. Is luggage a problem on trains? The silver bus? (It appears that the silver line from Logan is a bus, not a train - is that right?) Is the silver line from South Station to Tufts a bus or a train? Is the transfer reasonably easy? What about blue to orange at State? From the Tufts campus map it appears that the T station is in the middle of the campus, maybe around the parking garage, and it could be easy to walk over to Tremont St. - or complicated. How level is the walk, are there curb cuts, difficult-to-cross streets from South Station or State? If it's raining, how easy are taxis to get from the stations? (Landing at 1:30 if the plane isn't late, hopefully get into the city before rush hour.) I haven't even bothered to locate the T stations on a Boston street map and checked the distance if we decide to walk from either station; half a mile might not be so bad, but uphill all the way and/or with long detours to get to a street crossing would make it another story.
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Old Sep 25th, 2010, 01:24 PM
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I am utterly and totally confused - and I have lived in Boston for 30+ years. What does Tufts University have to do with anything? Tufts is in Somerville and Medford - no where near Tremont St Courtyard.

Unless you are referring to New England Medical Center - the Tufts University hospital that is in Boston. I will assume you mean that - but don't think of it really as a "campus" - it is a collection of hospital-type buildings right on city streets. Don't ask anyone for directions to "Tufts" or you will end up in Medford - call it New England Medical Center.

I would take the airport shuttle to the Blue Line subway stop. Then I would take Blue Line to Government Center; change to Green line to Boylston - a short walk from there.

Or airport shuttle to Blue Line to State Street. Change to Orange line and get off at Medical Center (I think that is where the Tufts enters into this).

I am not a big Silver Line fan - I admit that part of it is that I learned to navigate the MBTA long before there was a silver line.

Walking in area of Boylston Street is not a problem - it is safe, there should be adequate curb cuts. It is flat. Only thing I do not know is nature of transfer from one line to another at State or Govt Center and whether it involves elevators and it they are working. Either stop, the walk is perhaps 5-10 minutes.

I would not count on getting a taxi to take you the really short distance from either Tufts NEMC or Boylston. It really is a short distance and by the time you could find an empty cruising cab in the rain, you would have already walked there.

Keep in mind that elevator/escalator malfunctions are very common on the MBTA - such that a local disability advocacy agency has filed several lawsuits since people were getting trapped in stations. There are "service alerts" on the website to let you know of chronically broken elevators, but not all.
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Old Sep 25th, 2010, 02:36 PM
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Sorry to confuse you. Yes, Tufts Medical is what the MBTA site calls the station - just too lazy to type the whole thing. Their website is tuftsmedicalcenter.org but I just saw "New England Medical Center" on a Fodor's map. And "campus" in the more contemporary sense as "a collection of buildings belonging to a given institution", not the traditional definition like a college campus. (I admit to confusion myself some years ago when my husband's employer referred to their "campus" - 3 buildings - and the local hospital also used the same term, but now I hear it a lot.) Courtyard Tremont is just across Tremont St. from the medical center, so I figured that would be the closest stop, assuming we could get out of the medical center easily.

Yes, I was afraid broken elevators could be a factor, as they seem to be with most older subways (and probably some newer ones). Which is why I was considering walking from State or South Station. And looking at the T map again, I noticed tiny asterisks by some stations including State and Boyleston and was barely able to read the key. Seems Orange and Blue are "accessible" at State (Blue says "2010", so don't know if it's happened yet) but only Silver at Boylston. So Boylston doesn't sound like a good station for people with bags they don't want to haul up stairs. Don't know why some stations have the handicapped symbol and others the asterisks - what is the difference between an asterisk for "accessible" and a wheelchair symbol, I wonder?

Thanks for the info. Seems like maybe Blue to Orange at State would be the best bet (if Blue is "accessible" yet), then hope for working elevators. Looks like between 3/4 and a mile walk from State and almost as far from South if we want to avoid changing trains. Which is farther than I want to walk if it's raining.
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Old Sep 25th, 2010, 02:49 PM
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I was as confused as Gail but I just looked on the website for the MBTA and they inexplicably list the old New England Medical Center stop as "Tufts Medical Center Station."

I agree that if you told a cabbie to take you to Tufts you would wind up somewhere other than Washington Street.

No idea why they would've changed the station name.

That said, I would suggest you take the Blue line from Logan to the Orange line, and get off at "Tufts Medical Center Station" which I have always and only known to be the New England Medical Center stop on the Orange line. I've never traveled the silver line - I do think it's a subway, not a bus, and the Blue and Orange lines are subways.

You may run into a broken elevator, but the escalators are USUALLY working.
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Old Sep 25th, 2010, 03:09 PM
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In summary, you have 2 options.

1.Take the Blue Line to Govt Center, then switch to the Green Line (any train) inbound to the Boylston St station. About a 10 min walk to the hotel. This option is 6 total stops on the T.

2.Take the Blue Line to State Street, switch to the Orange line and get off at Tufts/NEMC station. About a 5 min walk to the hotel. This option is also 6 total stops on the T. But might be faster due to being on the Orange line vs Green and being a shorter walk to the hotel.
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Old Sep 25th, 2010, 03:56 PM
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I mentioned the "Tufts" confusion to my husband and he told me that they have changed their name to Tufts Medical Center, paid big bucks to MBTA to change station names, or so he read when he was surfing. So that's why the '07 Fodor's says New England; guess the next edition will be Tufts. Good to find out about this because we certainly could get in trouble in a taxi. In fact, we got into taxi trouble last trip when we were going to Boston Pops and one of our group told him "Hatch Shell" and he thought he said "cat show."

Blue to Orange at State sounds like the best bet as long as escalators are working and/or it's late enough in '10 for Blue to be "accessible", whatever that may mean. Since Boyleston doesn't have a wheelchair symbol, I wonder if that means just elevators or no escalators either. My husband checked Wikipedia which says Silver is buses in a dedicated tunnel/surface lane, kneeling with luggage space, upgraded last year, but slow, slow, slow, even in the tunnel; and you have to go outside, cross the street, and reenter on the other side to transfer.
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Old Sep 26th, 2010, 01:43 AM
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Silver line is a bus. I have no idea what Tufts paid to whom to change name to what. But everyone here calls it New England Medical Center (NEMC)and since Bostonians are not into change, they will forever.

If you want to get anywhere or ask directions and do not call it what we have decided you should call it, you will end up at a cat show. Most of Route 128 (the circular interstate around Boston) is labelled as and officially called Rte 95 - part of that interstate system - on maps, signage paid for by federal govt, mapping programs. But you will never hear anyone from Boston call it anything other than Rte 128 - including on traffic reports (except for the part north of Boston where Rte 95 and Rte 128 are actually different roads).

And only in Boston would Rte 95S be the same road as Rte 93N.

So I think it is wonderful your DH is participating in the trip planning and searching for info - wish my DH was as involved when we travel - but what Wikipedia, Tufts, MBTA and anyone else tells us to call things will continue to be irrelevant.

If you are still concerned about elevators (usually stations have one or the other - not as easy to just subsitute one for the other), you could actually call the number on the MBTA website - and I think there is a specific one for disability services. While I have not done so, I have heard from several people that they actually answer the phone and give intelligent answers.
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Old Sep 26th, 2010, 05:17 AM
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Take the Silver Line.

What you are experiencing here is a lot of long-time Bostonians faced with doing something a different way .
They all talk about this in their posts, but they all, god love 'em (a good Boston expression) exemplify it. I am no better. Though I do not refer to Park Street Under and Park Street Over, I do still call the circumferential highway Route 128, as God intended.

To do the Blue Line/Orange Line route involves taking a bus from your Logan terminal to the T, (lifting your bags up and down the bus stairs), getting on the Blue Line, getting off the Blue Line at State, finding the right direction to the Orange Line, dealing with stairs (the Orange Line is on a different level), taking a longish underground walk to board the train, then finally getting out of the Orange Line station, which may or may not have working escalators.

Taking the Silver Line involves getting on a bus at your terminal, getting off the bus at South Station, getting on another bus, getting off at Tufts NEMC and getting out of the station. It's then a couple of blocks to the hotel.

Do not be surprised that much of the Silver Line bus route is underground.


You may need change when you get on the Silver Line. I think bringing a roll of quarters may be a good idea, but if you can find a three day pass at Logan other than at the Airport station, it will be a good investment. I have a Charley Card, even though I don't live in Boston any more
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Old Sep 26th, 2010, 06:32 AM
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I'm with Ack on this one. Pick up Silverline right outside your terminal and there are machines to purchase your fare at the terminals. My only question is do you need a transfer for the second bus Ack?
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Old Sep 26th, 2010, 10:12 AM
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Last I heard, there is minimal or no elevator service on the Blue Line parts of State Street or Government Center when trying to change to the Orange or Green Lines. Encountering plenty of stairs is very likely here.

The Silver Line does have elevator service to the Red Line, I'm pretty sure, and the Silver Line is a "kneeling bus" if memory serves, though you likely will have to haul your bags up and out of the aisle onto racks.

Problem here is that there isn't an elevator leading from the Red Line at Downtown Crossing to the Orange Line. If you're arriving during business hours, there's an elevator from the Red Line or Orange Line (on at least one side) to street level. But from there, it's a solid walk down Washington Street dragging luggage along, or you'll have to head back into the subway into the Orange Line from the street.

And as has been alluded to before, there's always a chance elevators and/or escalators may be undergoing repair.

Much as I'm a big fan of taking public transportation in general -- if the chance of being stuck dragging a heavy bag up or down stairs and/or in the rain is a deal-breaker, you'll probably have to bite the bullet and get a cab.
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Old Sep 26th, 2010, 03:33 PM
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Ditto to what bachs said!!! My advice is to take the taxi with your luggage and then fly all around Boston on the T unencumbered! Just my 2 cents and worth every penny!

I always look at things as a risk/benefit ratio. The chance of injury--or just the cost of the annoyance if you are not the worrying kind--makes the cab a good investment in a place like Boston where things are always out of order, under construction or just plain inconvenient. (PS, I live here and I "love that dirty water", but I know how to realistically appraise things. )
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Old Sep 26th, 2010, 03:35 PM
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PS to gail......DH has worked in the Longwood Medical area for most of his 30+ yr career and they *do* refer to the hospital as "Tufts".
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Old Sep 26th, 2010, 04:08 PM
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'just my 2 cents worth, and worth every penny'

line of the day!!!!!!!
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Old Sep 26th, 2010, 06:26 PM
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Thanks, Kealaini, I have used it for years, and am sure I did not make it up! So I can take no credit for originality.
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Old Sep 27th, 2010, 12:03 AM
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socialworker - that is because most of the Longwood area hospitals are Harvard affiliated and they just want to make the distinction that the other institution is of an inferior brand
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Old Sep 27th, 2010, 04:10 AM
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Tufts New England Medical Center is located next to and is the teaching hospital for Tufts Medical School. It has been in Boston for years and years. The Floating Hospital for Children is also affiliated with Tufts and has been there for years. It is a highly-regarded medical school and hospital. It is well-known to Bostonians as Tufts--I think that the NE Medical Center name is a relatively new rebranding. Glad they've gone back to Tufts.

Polly229, I also agree with Ack--take the Silver Line. You don't want to have to make changes on the train and subways with a big piece of luggage.
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Old Sep 27th, 2010, 07:03 PM
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After my last post I stumbled on a site I've never seen before, Yelp. Lots of reviews of Blue vs. Silver and just as many people adamant about one as the other. And a lot of love-hate relationships with the MBTA, which I guess is understandable. After reading those and the posts here, I'm thinking my best bet might be the Silver line and then maybe a taxi from South Station (if there are any - have made the hike from Grand Central to 7th Av. & 49th in light rain at rush hour since the taxi queue went on forever, and I don't supposed South Station to Tremont would be any worse). I figure if I do something to my back hauling luggage up steps, it could be the start of an unpleasant few days - and on vacation no less. Thanks for all the input on options, everyone.

I am hoping I'll be able to pick up a 7-day Charlie Card at Logan (baggage claim someone said), though now my husband tells me we need a Charlie Ticket, not a card, if we want to use it for the harbor ferry because the ferry can't read the cards. So who knows if we can get a ticket at Logan? But it could be that you can only get paper tickets from machines, not plastic. I have read stuff on the MBTA site till my eyes are crossed.

Gail, don't I wish that my DH "is participating in the trip planning and searching for info" about this trip. It got started when he figured he was going to prove me wrong about something and all he has done is research the MBTA. Since it's never happened before, I can't count on it happening again. Generally he knows what country (or state) we're going to visit and often when we get back he knows some of the cities we've been in, but previously I have done all the planning and just tell him where to go every morning. This has been between 3 and 8 trips a year since '98 and I'm getting planning fatigue. But DH just retired the end of June and it seems like he should be able to participate more, so if I can work out some ways of getting him to think he can prove me wrong, I can probably get more input - as long as he doesn't catch on to what I'm doing. I'm not complaining since I say, "Let's go back to Greece" or "Do you want to go to Glacier?" and he says, "Fine, whatever you want to do, I always have fun"; and he'll hang around craft galleries and such without complain, so he's ideal to travel with. And he'll do all the driving when it's on the wrong side of the road. But I would like it if he'd help with some decision-making once in awhile. Maybe this MBTA thing is a sign.
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Old Sep 27th, 2010, 08:04 PM
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polly229, I would double-check to make sure you can take elevators and/or escalators up from where the Silver Line lets you off to street level. You'll definitely have to take a combination of two, one on each side of the fare gate. I think you'll be able to, but it can't hurt to know for sure. There should be cabs outside South Station.

And do note well that you may have to haul your bags out of the aisle on the Silver Line bus onto and off of racks.

If all this works for you, you're all set.

And your husband is right, you can't get the hard plastic Charlie Cards from a vending machine, only Charlie Tickets.

It may be wise to email the MBTA directly with the questions you may have:

http://www.mbta.com/customer_support/contact/

Best of luck with all this.
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Old Sep 27th, 2010, 09:34 PM
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Actually, Bachslunch, my husband is the one who said we'd need the ticket T-pass for the ferry, I haven't found that yet. I'm the one who found what I think indicated only tickets, not cards, from vending machines. Well, we'll either get something from a machine at Logan or we won't. We'll get something that will work on the ferry or we won't. And life will go on.

Luggage racks are not a problem and if it turns out I have to use a really high one, I'll get my husband to grab the other end. (Or he'll do it all himself and do something to his back.) It's just the long steps with heavy luggage I'd rather avoid. South Station does have a wheelchair symbol, so we'll just hope something is working. I'll have to say though, as I get older and think about how we'll manage when we're too old to drive, I realize that my former plan of moving to a city with good public transportation isn't a great idea. I'm beginning to notice that most cities - and not just in Europe - are amazingly unfriendly to the lame and the halt. I'm only a couple of years ahead of the first boomers, so maybe I won't fall apart completely before that big [voting] cohort makes sure those escalators and elevators get fixed for good.
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