MBTA touts improvements as Red Line delays frustrate riders

The MBTA rolled out improvements to Worcester's Union Station and announced that a new payment system will launch next month

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Tuesday was filled with successes and setbacks for the MBTA.

The morning commute was hampered along the Red Line after a maintenance vehicle derailed, with shuttle buses brought in to help riders reach their destinations.



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Meanwhile, in Worcester, MBTA leadership was touting improvements to the historic Union Station's middle platform.

"The ability to accommodate two trains simultaneously will enhance operational efficiency," said MBTA General Manager Phillip Eng.

"It doesn't sound sexy, but it is so meaningful for riders," remarked Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll. "Enhancing that functionality for everyone who uses this station, and that's a lot of people."

The improvements include new elevators, a pedestrian bridge and raising the platform to allow riders to access trains without issue.

More MBTA trouble Tuesday morning as commuters piled onto shuttle buses after a derailment along the Red Line. No injuries were reported and service has since resumed.

Even so, the project itself faced multiple delays on its way to opening.

"A lot of challenges with material supplies and logistics," said Eng. "I'm really pleased that we can deliver this project. We anticipated opening it earlier, slightly, but right now is a proud day for all of us."

The MBTA also revealed Tuesday that riders will be able to tap their credit cards or mobile wallets to pay fares beginning Aug. 1.

New projects and delays aside, the agency is also reviewing a recent audit centered on a transit ambassador contract with a company called Block By Block.

State Auditor Diana DiZoglio published a report that finds insufficient records for Charlie Card use, lack of training and inconsistent checks of station infrastructure.

"We need to make sure that employees are fully trained especially on safety and operations at an agency such as the MBTA to protect riders, passengers and stations," said DiZoglio.

Eng says the MBTA is taking those critiques in stride.

"Some of those findings, we still need to review, but we're confident we have measures already in place," said Eng.

DiZoglio's office plans to follow up on the agency's progress on those improvements and to release further reviews of the MBTA's policies in the days ahead.

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