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‘A huge inconvenience’: Morning commuters react to MBTA reducing weekday service

A sign offered times for the next Orange Line trains at the State Street stop.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Commuters taking the Blue, Orange, and Red lines Monday faced longer wait times between trains as the T switched to its Saturday schedule for all weekdays, with some expressing surprise and frustration.

The MBTA will run fewer trains on those lines because it doesn’t have enough dispatchers to safely staff subway operations. Service on the Commuter Rail and the Green Line will not be affected.

The service cuts come as the T faces increasing pressure regarding its safety after a series of accidents within a short time, including the death of one rider. Last week, the Federal Transit Administration, which has been investigating T operations, issued a grim safety assessment, citing staffing shortages and describing subway dispatchers working 20-hour shifts in the Operations Control Center.

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“It’s a huge inconvenience,” Lauren Lubin, 18, said as she waited for an inbound Red Line train at Ashmont Station Monday morning.

Lubin doesn’t have a car and relies on the T to get to her job at the Star Market on Morrissey Boulevard and to visit her family.

“Most people in the suburbs have cars,” she said. “This definitely affects low-income people and people who rely on the train more.”

The service cut isn’t the first headache the T has given Lubin. The trains are constantly breaking down and are replaced by shuttle buses at JFK/UMass, she said.

Yuki Hirai, 34, also said the service cuts were “pretty inconvenient” as he waited on an outbound train at Davis Square Station after dropping his son off at school. The Cambridge resident also uses the Red Line every day to attend classes at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he’s studying for a master’s degree in business.

Still, Hirai said, he’s even more alarmed by reports of safety issues on the T.

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“I prefer to be safer than just have more trains,” he said.

At Downtown Crossing Monday morning, the wait between Orange Line trains was mostly around 10 minutes, while Red Line trains arrived more sporadically with anywhere from five to 10 minutes between them.

Ravichandra Pothamsetty had already seen the news about the delays over the weekend, but he said he was still surprised — and frustrated — by how long the Red Line train took compared to usual.

”This is the first time I’m experiencing delays, in the four or five weeks I’ve been here,” said Pothamsetty, who moved to Boston from Indiana for an internship at Amazon. “Before that, it was really easy.”

Coming off the Orange Line, Noah Texeira, a lifelong Boston resident who works in marketing, said he hadn’t experienced a significant delay due to Monday’s changes yet. But he worried the changes would add to existing issues he has experienced on the MBTA.

”If like a 15-minute delay happens, when I’ve got to get to work at a specific time, that can really mess up my schedule,” Texeira said. ”There’s always random delays, random shuttle bus stops, things like that that they don’t really warn you about.”

Shehryar Arif, a graduate student at Suffolk University, takes the Orange Line several times a day to get to school and back. He said the service cuts would only make that commute harder.

”During busy hours, [the wait] should be like three minutes or something. Ten minutes is a hell of a lot more time,” Arif said. He also wished trains operated later at night. “In a metropolitan area, a city, it shouldn’t be that way. Frustrated isn’t the right word, but I have concerns.”

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Frustrated was the right word for Marci Davis back at Davis Square Station, where the Cambridge retiree waited for an inbound train at Davis Square Station.

“It’s just awful. . . . It’s just so misguided,” said Davis, who frequently uses the T to get to Massachusetts General Hospital.

“If you want riders, don’t reduce service,” she said. “They’re going to chase away all their customers.”

Daniel Williams, 40, didn’t know about the service reductions as he waited for an inbound Red Line train at Davis Square just past 8:45 a.m.

“It would’ve been nice to have some signs,” he said.

Williams, a Somerville resident who works in software, uses the T much less than he used to, highlighting another problem the transit system faces. Williams used to commute five days a week to an office. Now, he exclusively works from home and makes three roundtrips on the T each week. On Monday, he was headed to the airport.

The T “needs more funding,” he said. “They’re always doing construction — replacing the floating slabs, whatever that means.”


Alexander Thompson can be reached at alexander.thompson@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @AlMThompson Anjali Huynh was a Globe intern in 2022.Follow her on Twitter @anjalihuynh.