By Amanda Bang
Boston University News Service
MBTA service along the Green Line continues to flow through two new stations that recently opened in the Boston-area. Riders have been boarding at Cambridge’s new Lechmere station and Union Square Station in Somerville as the Green Line Extension project continues.
The long-term project, discussed by state officials since 1990 and contractually approved in 2017, culminated into a grand opening on March 21, complete with Gov. Charlie Baker and other leaders gathered at Union Station to cut the ribbon.
“Glad to join local, state and federal partners this afternoon to celebrate this transformative project that will improve access to educational and job opportunities across the MBTA system and the region,” said Baker in a tweet.
Richard Phipps, a Green Line train operator, contributed to the creation of the history-making extension station.
“It was good,” Phipps said. “I was the first train to come back here in the morning.”
He mentioned this spring extension will help neighboring towns such as Somerville and Cambridge.
“It’s really good for the community and the area,” Phipps said.
He added Union Station gets “very busy” in the mornings, so the extension will facilitate transit for many.
Fernando Jimenez, a passenger leaving Union Square Station, said the extension has already helped him with transportation.
“I think it’s an easier way to go to different points of the city, and it’s very useful,” Jimenez said.
The Green Line Extension project stations also use a new system with fare payment. Riders will need to validate their ticket or CharlieCard from the fare vending machines, according to the MBTA website.
“I do think this is a little weird because we’re used to only using the cards,” Jimenez said about the change. “But I think one day we’ll get used to it.”
“I don’t really understand why we have to do that,” said Valery Min, a Boston University student who uses the Green Line frequently. “It’s also unfair because it’s only two stops. If they’re going to do it, they should do it everywhere.”
The other five expected stations, which will lead to Medford, are in their final stages of construction and are planned to open this summer.
“The amount of work they did in less than three years is very good, it’s over five miles worth of track,” Phipps said. “It’ll make it better for everybody — for students as well.”