‘Brutal' Wait Times Continue as MBTA Deals With Staffing Issues

Service on the MBTA has been reduced for nearly a month as the agency looks to hire enough dispatchers to operate safely

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It has been almost a month of long wait times on the MBTA.

The Boston area’s transit authority will be running with reduced service until officials can hire enough dispatchers to operate safely, but riders do not think the hiring is going fast enough.



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The MBTA wants to hire a total of 15 dispatchers. At a meeting on Thursday, they said so far, they have only been able to hire five. Until the agency gets to full staffing levels, commuters have been forced to wait up to 20 minutes between trains. Social media is filled with photos and frustration.

"It's brutal sometimes. You get here and there's one minute left and you don't make it. Then it's 20 minutes until the next one, and you're 20 minutes late for work," commuter Rosie Diaz said.

One reason the hiring is slow is because a dispatcher is a highly skilled job. The MBTA's job posting said candidates need to have a minimum of four years experience with the authority. This requirement means the job is only posted internally and is not listed on the MBTA career website.

Stacy Thompson, a transit advocate with LivableStreets, said she understands the process takes time, but she wishes the MBTA would be more transparent with the public about the hiring process and invest more into it going forward.

"You want to be recruiting year-round," she said. "You want to maintain the workforce so you don't run into this problem in the future."

While commuters are forced to ride it out, Nicole Merullo is not doing so quietly. She recently started wearing a protest sign over her clothes during her daily commute that says "We Deserve a Better T."

"I started wearing it just to make a statement to my fellow commuters. We really do deserve a better T," Merullo said.

On Thursday, the MBTA said it has made progress on all of the federal safety directives, which include launching an aggressive hiring campaign and prioritizing certain track projects.

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