As communities across Greater Boston feel the effects of the MBTA’s 30-day Orange Line shut down we the representatives of the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts (BECMA), with the support of the Coalition for an Equitable Economy, and the Asian Business Empowerment Council (ABEC) want to register our deep concern about the impact this shutdown will have on our community members, many of whom are Black and Asian residents that rely on the MBTA for transportation every day.
The pause of one of the MBTA’s most popular subway lines affects a vital corridor connecting Boston’s downtown area to predominantly Black neighborhoods, including Jamaica Plain, Hyde Park, Roxbury, and Mission Hill, as well as Asian workers and residents in Chinatown.
Unfortunately, MBTA safety and efficiency issues have plagued the transit system for years. Accidents, derailments, and disruptions put people’s lives and livelihoods at risk, while also eroding trust in the system and its leadership. We have not been reassured by the quality of the MBTA’s prior mitigation efforts and now its communications to riders about this new initiative. Non-English speakers were the last to learn about the shutdown and consequently there have been no efforts to provide translated signage or easy access to interpretation services in advance, making these communities face a monumental task just to plan their commutes. Riders deserve a firm commitment from the MBTA that Orange Line service will significantly improve after this unprecedented diversion.