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Transportation lockdown lifts as Boston manhunt continues

Kayana Szymczak / Getty Images

A stranded traveler waits outside South Station on Friday in Boston. South Station was shut down and heavily guarded with police in response to the early morning shootings in Cambridge and Watertown, Mass.

The transportation lockdown in Boston began to lift Friday evening after being shut down during the day's house-to-house manhunt for the second suspect in the deadly Boston Marathon attacks.

With limited service, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority resumed all modes of transportation, except for commuter rail. Ferry service resumes Saturday.

Amtrak service between New York and Boston remains suspended indefinitely, though an announcement about Saturday service appeared to be pending, according to an Amtrak tweet.  Passengers who purchased tickets choosing not to travel on Amtrak because of the service disruption can get refunds or travel vouchers.

Planes continued to takeoff and land at Boston Logan, but the airport is operating under heightened security, airport officials told NBC News.

Driving poses its own challenges: Authorities are prohibiting some street traffic and cars having to pass through police roadblocks when entering and leaving the airport. Official taxi service was suspended for several hours this morning, the Boston Police Department said, though it has since resumed.

Courtesy Paul English

Police searched cars entering Boston Logan airport this morning.

After exiting a terminal patrolled by police officers holding assault rifles, AirTran passenger Hunter Wallace told NBC News his group skipped the line of people waiting for a taxi this morning, entered their hotel's address in their phones, and started walking toward the Hyatt Regency. After walking two miles, they still saw cars backed up on the highway waiting to take the airport exit, Wallace said.

They were eventually picked up by what he described as an early ‘90s Crown Victoria-type car running without a meter or badge, operating despite the ban on taxi service at that time. Their driver was a teenager who had his skateboard in the front seat. Once they arrived at their hotel, the check-in desk told them the police had said to not leave the hotel.

"We were going to go to the Red Sox game tonight but I don't know if it's going to happen, said Wallace. "We’re going to be here for a while." The ball club announced later that the game was postponed.

"It's pretty weird," Manasseh Oso told NBC News from a Dunkin' Donuts at Boston Logan airport, where he and 30 other fellow Harvard pre-freshman students were stranded after Boston's T-line service shut down. The scene in Terminal E was "quiet," said Oso, with everyone "staring into their iPads and phones, glued to social media about what's going on" and trying to arrange rides from friends and family or rental car companies.

In a sign of the day's transportation confusion, despite their social media immersion, the students were still under the impression that taxis service was suspended, though the Boston Police had tweeted an hour earlier that service had been restored.

Kayana Szymczak / Getty Images

Stranded travelers wait outside South Station on Monday.

All forms of transportation in and around Boston have been affected by the city-wide lock down. Amtrak announced it had suspended Acela Express and Northeast Regional service indefinitely in the Boston area.

Regional bus lines, such as Megabus, Greyhound, Bolt Bus, and Peter Pan bus lines have also suspended service, with customers receiving options for refunds or rebooking, according to an AP report.

Most of the airlines flying to Logan waived ticket change fees for those traveling today through Monday to Boston, and gave refunds to those with canceled flights, including AirTran, American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, United and Virgin Airlines. Some also waived fare differences.

The Federal Aviation Administration shut down airspace over a Boston neighborhood Friday morning to give police a "safe environment for law-enforcement activities." 

The agency issued a 3.5 nautical-mile (roughly 4 miles) radius temporary flight restriction over Watertown early Friday up to 3,000 feet. Effective immediately, no pilot may operate an aircraft in the restricted area until further notice, according to an FAA bulletin. The measure is similar to one enacted Monday following the bombing.

Friday evening the agency issued an additional 2 nautical-mile (roughly 2.3 miles) radius restriction over Boston up to 2,000 feet, also on behalf of law-enforcement activities.

The AP contributed to this report.

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