April 03, 2023

Labor Shortages Raise Doubts About MBTA’s Capabilities

Will MBTA Labor Shortages Impede its Future?

Like transit agencies across the nation, the MBTA is struggling to find the talent it needs to deliver full bus and rapid transit services today, let alone the expanded services being planned or proposed.  The severity of the MBTA’s staffing issues force two critical questions:

  • Is the MBTA mired in a new labor market reality, unable to recruit, hire and train the 2,800 workers the MBTA estimates it needs in the next 12 months to safely and reliably operate and maintain its core system?
  • If so, what steps should lawmakers take to help the MBTA rebuild its workforce and fix its infrastructure? And should those efforts fail, what do lawmakers propose for the MBTA’s future?

These are not hypothetical questions.