MBTA staffing issues continue, keeping wait times long – NBC Boston

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It’s been almost a month of long waits on the MBTA.

The Boston Area Transit Authority will operate with reduced service until officials can hire enough dispatchers to operate safely, but riders don’t think hiring is happening fast enough.

The MBTA wants to hire a total of 15 dispatchers. At a meeting on Thursday, they said so far they had only been able to hire five. Until the agency reached full staff, commuters were 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 a 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,” Rosie Diaz said.

One of the reasons hiring is slow is that a dispatcher is a highly skilled job. The MBTA job posting states that candidates must have at least four years of experience in the authority. This requirement means that the position is only posted internally and is not listed on the MBTA career website.

Stacy Thompson, transit advocate at LivableStreets, said she understands the process takes time, but she wants the MBTA to be more transparent with the public about the hiring process and invest more in it to the future.

“You want to recruit 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 get out, Nicole Merullo does not do so quietly. She recently started wearing a protest sign on her clothes on her daily commute that reads “We deserve a better T.”

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

On Thursday, the MBTA said it had made progress on all federal safety guidelines, which include launching an aggressive hiring drive and prioritizing certain runway projects.

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