Summer cuts to MBTA service will mean fewer trains and longer wait times on the Red, Orange and Blue subway lines.
Starting Monday, the MBTA reduced service on those three lines to make up for staffing issues. Now the weekday schedules will resemble a weekend schedule, with longer wait times between trains.
These service cuts were announced Friday, just two days after the Federal Transit Administration issued several directives to the T, including addressing staffing shortages and training.
For example, the T is supposed to have 20 heavy rail dispatchers – they’re short six – so they were regularly working 16-, and sometimes 20-hour shifts, according to the FTA.
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T riders are bracing themselves, and those who rely on the T to get to work, school or appointments say they’ll have to change their morning routine to get where they need to go on time.
“People have the mentality that it’s like, oh yeah, the train comes every five minutes so if I miss this one the next one comes in like three minutes, but now it’s going to be like you have to be on time and you have to fix your schedule to correlate with the transportation,” said Samantha Alejo, a T rider. “That will definitely impact my route to work. It will probably take a little bit over an hour versus 45 minutes, so that definitely takes a chunk out of my day.”
"I used to leave like a half an hour before my shift, but now I'll have to leave like an hour and a half before because the delays are ridiculous, and I have to switch over to different lines, different bus lines, and it's just a mess," said Ilysis White, who rides the T for work.
Castamge Osaac minds waiting longer but, "I can't do much about it, so life is like that. You have to accept it."
Commuter Betty Sierra said the T is her only option. With no car, she has to take the Orange and Red lines to get to her job in Quincy. Now her commute will be at least one hour longer, she said.
"Yeah, it's going to be a lot longer so people have to account for delays now, especially going to work and stuff like that," T rider Nathaniel Collier said.
For Brenda Simpkins, the MTBA trains have always had their ups and downs, but "this is about the worst yet."
The T said in a statement that, “These changes are the result of staffing challenges among the ranks of subway dispatchers in the MBTA’s Operations Control Center.”
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Josh Ostroff with the transportation advocacy group Transportation for Massachusetts Coalition says this is a direct result of not prioritizing investment in public transit and argues it shouldn’t have taken the federal government stepping in to fix it.
"When we see collisions and derailments, that is the visible side of what otherwise folks would not be aware of," Ostroff said.
The T says these changes will continue until they’ve increased the number of dispatchers. They’re launching a recruitment campaign, which includes a $10,000 bonus.
Anyone planning to ride the T, or to use any of the MBTA's services, should check out the new summer schedule for changes to avoid any derailments in their day.