BOSTON (CBS) – Bus driver shortages are affecting the MBTA, and leading to a number of service cuts over the next few weeks.
MBTA says it is doubling down on its efforts to fill hundreds of open positions including train and trolley operators, and especially bus drivers who are in high demand.
But until that happens, service will be cut off on some routes starting December 19.
“It’s not going anywhere. At this point, they’ll have to cut the T until there’s nothing left,” said driver Michael Neo, from Cambridge.
The MBTA says it is currently reducing one out of every 20 scheduled bus trips. As a result, they are making schedule changes to prioritize the busiest routes and in the communities that rely most on public transportation.
According to Mr. Steven Poftak, General Director of MBTA, the shortage of personnel is the cause leading to the reduction. “Like other transportation systems across the country, the MBTA is facing significant challenges in attracting the workforce needed to meet demand for the service.”
At the same time, MBTA will reduce service on other lines until they can recruit and train more bus and train operators.
The biggest change will be bus schedules, where 31 routes will reduce service. Three routes – lines 19, 38 and SL1 – will have increased service.
For metro, service on the Mattapan line will decrease during peak times in the morning and evening on weekdays and service will increase on Saturdays and Sundays after 11:30 pm. There will be no changes to other subway lines.
“You know, it’s unfortunate right now, but hopefully, they get together and start hiring, you know,” said driver Robert Escamilla, of Somerville.
Riders worry that they will be abandoned in the cold.
“If it weren’t for the bus, I would have had to take an Uber, and you know, not many people have the money to get there and back,” said Anyara Urvaez, of Charlestown.
The MBTA is streamlining the recruitment and advertising process for new drivers.
Some riders argue that the MBTA needs to consider the driver’s quality of life.
“They should look at how much each driver is paid; Neo said.
MBTA jobs are posted on MBTA’s website.
https://boston.cbslocal.com/2021/12/08/mbta-bus-driver-shortage-schedule-changes/ MBTA cuts service due to bus driver shortage – CBS Boston