Jun 20, 2022 - News

MBTA's reduced service schedule takes effect

An LCD screen on the T shows the stops on the Orange Line, from Forest Hills to the destination of Oak Grove.
The Orange Line trains are among those affected by the service cuts that took effect Monday. Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Service cuts on the Red, Orange and Blue lines took effect Monday, as the MBTA tries to meet federal mandates to address safety hazards across the train system.

Driving the news: The MBTA announced Friday that it would operate the three T lines on a Saturday schedule during weekdays over the summer, meaning those lines will have longer wait times between trains.

  • The MBTA said the service cuts are to avoid overworking employees amid a shortage of dispatchers — one of several problems the Federal Transit Administration flagged in a series of directives to the local agency.

Context: The FTA is inspecting the MBTA following several incidents in recent years that have killed or injured passengers.

  • The FTA issued several directives last week for the agency to address immediately while the federal review continues.
  • The directives include repairing less-severe defects before they get worse, training and certifying employees and supervisors to do their jobs and avoiding overworking employees.

What to know: The MBTA issued estimated wait times for each line, though they don't include traffic delays or other possible interruptions.

  • 🔴 Red Line trains will run every 15 minutes on the Ashmont and Braintree branches, while trains will run every 8 minutes between JFK/UMass and Alewife.
  • 🟠 Orange Line trains will run every 10 minutes in the morning, 8-9 minutes apart midday and 11 minutes apart in the evening.
  • 🔵 Blue Line trains will run 7 minutes apart until 9am and 8-9 minutes apart the rest of the day.

🟢 Yes, but: The MBTA said these changes would not apply to the Green Line.

  • Still, each branch of the Green Line is shutting down for several days throughout the year as the agency makes track and safety improvements as part of the city's capital improvement plan, starting with the B branch on Monday.
  • The B branch is closed for 12 days, and the agency is diverting passengers to shuttle buses between Kenmore Square and Boston College.

What they're saying: "It goes to show when we don't choose to invest and maintain and improve our systems … The cost is greater later on, and we are absorbing that cost today, and it's incredibly frustrating," Mayor Michelle Wu told reporters on Friday.

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