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MBTA Making Service Cuts Due To Bus Driver Shortage

BOSTON (CBS) – A bus driver shortage is impacting the MBTA, and is leading to some service cuts over the next few weeks.

The MBTA says they are doubling down on 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 on some lines starting December 19.

"It's not going to get anywhere. At this point, they are just going to have to cut the T until there is nothing left," said rider Michael Neo, of Cambridge.

The MBTA said it is currently dropping one of every 20 scheduled bus trips. As a result, they are making schedule changes that prioritize routes that are the most crowded, and in communities that rely most on public transportation.

It's a staffing shortage that's causing the cuts said MBTA General Manager Steven Poftak. "Like other transit systems across the country, the MBTA is experiencing significant challenges in attracting the workforce needed to meet demands for service."

At the same time, the MBTA will be reducing service on other lines until they can recruit and train more bus and train operators

The biggest changes will be to the bus schedules where 31 routes will have reduced service. Three routes - the 19, 38 and SL1 lines - will see increased service.

For the subways, service on the Mattapan line will be reduced during the morning and evening weekday peak times and service will be increased on Saturday and Sundays after 11:30 p.m. There will be no changes to other subway lines.

"You know, it's unfortunate right now, but hopefully, they get it together and start hiring people, you know," said rider Robert Escamilla, of Somerville

Riders are worried that they'll be left out in the cold.

"Without the bus, I would have to take an Uber, and you know, not a lot of people that that money to go there and back," said Anyara Urvaez, of Charlestown.

The MBTA is streamlining its hiring process and advertising for new drivers.

Some riders feel that the MBTA needs to look at its drivers' quality of life.

"They should look at how much each driver is getting paid; what's the issues that make these drivers leave," said Neo.

MBTA jobs are posted on the MBTA's website.

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