BOSTON (WHDH) - Just three days out from a month-long shutdown for the Orange Line, signs warning riders of the disruption of service can be found in every T station. However, in a city where 37 percent of residents speak a language other than English at home, every sign erected thus far has only been available in the one language.
Even in communities with a high population of foreign language speakers like Chinatown, all posted warnings and notifications of the impending shutdown are only available in English.
“They’re ignoring them,” Jeff Lee told 7NEWS. “They’re ignoring them. That’s what it feels like. Ignoring them, quite simply.”
A spokesperson for the MBTA said that riders are encouraged to use the ‘T’s Rider Guide’ and that it will be translated into nine languages. However, many are still not convinced the it will not be enough help for the communities in question.
“The Haitian Creole population and the Asian population might not get the same message, and I think it will affect them because a lot are traveling,” said James Dotimai.
Boston city officials told 7NEWS that efforts are underway by city officials to get pertinent information to effected community groups.
“We’ve been pushing for staff members to be present on the ground who can speak multiple languages especially in loading spots and shuttle stops so people know where to go as well,” said Boston Mayor Michelle Wu.
“I think it’s unfair to intentionally exclude communities of color, an immigrant community, a community that speaks limited English. We should be doing just the opposite,” said Councilor Ed Flynn.
Some T riders said that communication from the MBTA on the shutdown hasn’t been enough.
“I’ve seen some texts or some post on the website but its not very informative it’s not very helpful,” said commuter Mike Treacy.
One rider said he just found out about the shutdown.
“I go to work this is like a big issue for me because I don’t have transportation the only transportation, all I have is the train,” said Raul Rivera.
Governor Charlie Baker, when asked about the criticism on the lack of communication said they were working on it.
“The signage work is continuing, they’ll be continuing to roll that out also in multiple languages over the course of the next few days,” said Baker.
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