NEW YORK • Mass transportation 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. The exception was air travel, as planes took off and landed at Logan International Airport.
Authorities in Boston suspended all mass transit indefinitely, telling commuters via Twitter: "Go/stay home."
As the manhunt stretched into the afternoon, Amtrak stopped all trains between New York and Boston. All major intercity bus lines suspended service to the area. Passengers were being allowed to get refunds or rebook for travel at a later date. And the airlines were allowing customers to change plans without paying a fee.
Amtrak was stopping northbound service at New York City’s Penn Station. Part of Amtrak’s Downeaster service, which runs from Brunswick, Maine to Boston, was also stopped according to spokesman Cliff Cole.
Authorities suspended service on commuter trains into Boston as well as the city’s subway — called the T — and the city’s buses. That includes the Silver and Blue lines between Logan and downtown.
All major highways remained open, according to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. The exception was in Watertown, Mass., the center of the manhunt.
Megabus canceled at least 22 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 also suspended service. Passengers booked on canceled Bolt trips received refunds to their credit cards, according to Timothy Stokes, spokesman for Greyhound and Bolt Bus.
Across much of the Boston area, streets that would normally be bustling were quiet.
In Somerville, a densely populated city of about 75,000, authorities requested that residents stay inside with doors locked and not go to work.
People largely heeded officials’ pleas, said Bob Trane, an elected alderman in Somerville, which abuts Cambridge, about 5 miles northeast of Watertown.
"I’m just like everybody else in Greater Boston, just staying at home, glued to the television," Trane said. "There is nobody out in the streets, very few cars, very few people walking."
Logan airport remained open, although getting there was a challenge for many passengers. On a typical day, the airport has about 1,000 flights. Fewer than 10 flights had been canceled by 10 a.m., mostly because of weather delays in New York, according to flight tracking site FlightAware.
The airport has been operating at a heightened level of security since Monday’s attack, according to Matthew Brelis, director of media relations for MassPort, the public agency that runs Logan.
The Massachusetts State Police set up a roadblock Friday morning and were searching some of the vehicles entering the airport.
While no mass transit was reaching Logan, 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 were taxi lines, which Brelis described as "exceedingly long" during the late morning. Officials were asking people to share cabs to nearby location. By noon the backlog had cleared.
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" and the security presence at the airport was significant. But operations were normal for the airline, which allowed 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. Spokesman Morgan Durrant said the airline expected on-time departures and was considering extending a travel waiver issued earlier in the week.Next Page >
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