Jamal Parson just moved to Melrose from Atlanta for a new job at the Pine Street Inn a few days ago. But soon, his commute will be completely upended when the MBTA shuts down the Orange Line for 30 days.

“It shuts down as soon as I move,” he said. “I didn't realize how limited it was.”

The MBTA is shutting down the system’s second-busiest line starting Friday at 9 p.m. to address a massive backlog in maintenance, including replacing tracks and upgrading signal systems. In the last few months, riders have seen slow, frustrating and sometimes dangerous conditions system-wide. The Federal Transit Administration is investigating the agency.

Parson said he has already had to take Uber rides that cost $40.

“I hope they have shuttles,” he said. “A lot of shuttles.”

Jarred Johnson, the executive director of TransitMatters, said he hoped starting the shutdown on a Friday evening would allow the MBTA to ease into replacing the entire system with shuttle buses. Bright yellow A Yankee Line buses will run from Oak Grove to the Government Center Green Line station. Passengers can then board the Green Line to Copley, then get on another shuttle bus that will make stops between Back Bay and Forest Hills stations.

The Green Line, with its new influx of Orange Line passengers, will have its own shutdown — all stops north of Government Center will be closed for a month starting Sept. 22 for construction work, and the E Line has been replaced with the 39 bus.

“Weekend ridership was one of the strongest [times for the Orange Line],” Johnson said. ”The first weekend is still going to be a test, even if it's not a work day or it's not school.”

Less than a week before shutdowns began, there was little to no signage at MBTA stops alerting riders of the shutdown. A GBH News reporter found one screen flashing an alert about the plans, written only in English.

A man in a blue surgical mask, glasses, and an orange zip-up hoodie sits on the Orange Line.
Sean Jordan on the Orange Line the morning of Aug. 15, 2022.
Jeremy Siegel GBH News

Sean Jordan, who lives near Oak Grove and commutes on the Orange Line, boards right around the start of service to get to his hospitality job in the Back Bay.

“I actually feel like what I did see was a little confusing,” he said. “I might try the Commuter Rail, because it seems like it might be faster. I mean, I’m definitely going to try it. But because I do go to work so early, I just don’t want to get into a situation where I’m late for work.”

He has signed up for MBTA alerts, and regularly gets messages about delays — but none about the shutdowns.

A man in red T-shirt wearing a backwards baseball cap and sunglasses on top of his head sits on a wooden bench, leaning against a map of the MBTA system.
Ernesto Vargas waits for the Orange Line.
Jeremy Siegel GBH News

Ernesto Vargas of Malden, who takes the Orange Line to the Assembly Square stop for his work as a carpenter, said he wished the T did the maintenance work during early COVID lockdowns when ridership was lower.

“It’s just something they could have done when COVID started. They knew about it,” he said.

Starting next week, he might try walking or riding a bike to work instead.

“What are we going to do?” he said. “It’s going to be a mess.”

A woman in maroon medical scrubs and a white surgical masks stands in front of an MBTA elevator.
Alexis Gordon at an Orange Line stop.
Jeremy Siegel GBH News

Shutdowns will mean Alexis Gordon of Everett, a second-year dental student at Tufts University, will have to get up an hour and a half earlier than she usually does. No shuttle buses will run to her school near Tufts Medical Center in Chinatown. Her boyfriend works in Brookline, and she expects their commute will be long and frustrating.

“I have a car, but I wasn’t planning on driving it during the week because of traffic,” Gordon said. “Now with the Orange Line closing, there’s going to be a lot of traffic, even with the shuttles. I’m not happy about it at all.”