Federal regulators are stepping in after an MBTA employee was seriously injured one week ago, along with several other “near-miss” safety incidents between March and April.
In a recent letter from the Federal Transit Administration, regulators are banning T workers from right-of-way access unless they go through a daily four-step process until further notice. Officials wrote that the oversight is intended to prevent “a substantial risk of death or personal injury.”
"It doesn't seem to me that the T has gotten the culture of safety that it professes to have publicly," said Pete Wilson, senior policy advisor for the advocacy group Transportation for Massachusetts.
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Meanwhile, the new general manager is considering shutting down much of the Blue Line at 7p.m. on certain days to eliminate slow zones. The rail replacement and track alignment work for that could take another seven months -- a concern for transportation advocate and riders alike.
"More communication up front when there's going to be work done on the train, or if there's a breakdown," says T rider John Hennessy. "More notice up front would be better."
During a meeting with the board of directors on Wednesday, MBTA General Manager Philip Eng said he’s in the process of following a state order to have 1000 engineering and maintenance workers retake a safety refresher course.
“The recent near-miss incidents that we reported on last week at the safety subcommittee meeting are avoidable and should not be happening," Eng said. "While we welcome the efforts of DPU and the FTA and appreciate their responsibilities, it is imperative that we ourselves take control of our needs and lead rather than continue to take direction on our own responsibilities and we will do that.”
Eng said he took that training himself. He is also urging all MBTA staff to stop working if they don’t think the conditions are safe.