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‘They’re ignoring them’: Riders express concern how foreign language speakers will be notified of MBTA updates during Orange Line shutdown – Boston News, Weather, Sports


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.

“I can see how a large demographic in Boston who doesn’t speak the language would be effected,” 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.

According to Sophia Li, the dissemination of information from the MBTA has been so disjointed to foreign language-speaking communities, she heard the news from overseas social media first.

“I follow some Chinese social media about Boston that’s where I heard about something is going on with the Orange line and they shut down. That’s how I got the news,” said Li.

(Copyright (c) 2022 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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