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MBTA buses not running as frequently through largely minority areas, officials say

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Agency addressing discrepancy

Eric Kilby/Flickr

The MBTA is looking into why its bus service in areas with large minority populations is choppier than in areas that have fewer minorities.

The service discrepancy means the agency could be non-compliant with federal regulations called Title VI that prohibit discrimination by recipients of federal money—like the MBTA—on the basis of race, color, or national origin.

The agency uncovered the discrepancy in preparing data for federal regulators as it’s supposed to do every three years (the last time was in 2014).

What’s that data show? That 41 percent of the MBTA’s bus routes through largely minority communities run a below-average number of buses compared with 25 percent on so-called “non-minority” routes.

State officials tell the Herald are working to address the discrepancy, but they note there are a couple of silver linings.

One is that some of the impacted routes through largely minority areas serve relatively low numbers of riders, meaning that the routes are affected but not necessarily a large number of riders (of course, if you are one of those riders, what good does this do?).

Also, the MBTA found no major differences between minority and non-minority routes in terms of buses running on time or being overcrowded.