Another Delayed MBTA Commute Monday Amid Continued Speed Restrictions

"Targeted speed restrictions" remained in place Monday morning, as track inspections continued on the Red, Orange, Blue, Green and Mattapan lines

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The trouble on the T continued Monday, with no end in sight to the speed restrictions and slow zones implemented last week.

Ahead of the morning commute, the MBTA on Sunday issued an advisory to riders asking them to allow for extra commuting time as those speed restrictions persisted across some areas of the Blue, Orange and Red Lines, while the entirety of the Green Line and Mattapan Trolley were under a global speed restriction.



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That means trains on the entirety of both lines could only go up to 25 mph, and no faster than 10 mph around curves and on specialized stretches of track.

T rider Tarnya Jenkins said her ride in Monday was very slow: "It took me about an hour, which should have been 30 minutes."

The MBTA did not provide a timetable for when speed restrictions will be lifted but said in a service update Sunday night that riders should plan for additional travel time and longer headways on the Red, Orange, Blue, Green and Mattapan Lines this week as T engineers continue to perform repair validations and speed verifications for each section of track.

The slowdowns persist as MBTA engineers continue to perform repair validations and speed verifications following a Department of Public Utilities site visit last week.

MBTA Interim General Manager Jeff Gonneville spoke about the slow zones during a live phone interview with NBC10 Boston on Monday morning.

"Obviously we are putting customer safety and our employee safety at the top of our priority here at the MBTA, and we are taking a very conservative approach as we are working through this particular issue," Gonneville said. "We are telling our customers as you just stated to really give themselves an additional 20 minutes for their commute this morning. that is due to these ongoing speed restrictions  but also just to headways and train spacing that we are going to be dealing with as the day progresses here."

Gonneville said that it's still too soon to have a timetable as to when the speed restrictions will be through.

"We have two groups that are going through and verifying and validating these particular defects that had been identified," Gonneville said. Both our internal engineers and we have third party engineering teams that are independently going out and evaluating our track and track conditions that have been identified. Once that process is done, that’s when we will begin to make determinations about lifting those speed restrictions, and or scheduling the corrective work or corrective maintenance that may be necessary as the result of those validations."

The T is allowing riders with a CharlieCard to use the commuter rail on certain lines, in an effort to ease congestion.

"Customers that are traveling through JFK UMass, Quincy Center, Braintree Porter Square, Back Bay, Ruggles, Forest Hills, Malden Center Oak Grove to South Station and North Station will just need to show their Charlie card to the conductors and they’ll be able to travel to and into Boston as an alternative," Gonneville explained, as he urged passengers to use the trip planner offered on the MBTA's website.

But riders are not happy about the delays, bemoaning how the new issues make it feel like you can't really get around the city without a car, at least not without planning ahead and budgeting a lot of time.

Localized speed limits are still in place in certain sections of the track on the Red, Orange and Blue lines.

“You have to wake up earlier, you have to change your whole routine so I would like it to be on time and not have these problems, that would definitely make life easier," commuter Kendra Wagner said.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu acknowledged "that sense of frustrating across our community" when discussing the T at a briefing Monday. She said she rode the Green Line Monday and saw people decide to walk to their destination rather than wait for their train to get moving.

"You can feel the slow zones above ground," she said.

On Friday, T officials said to give them patience until Monday morning. But overnight, the T tweeted that riders should give themselves additional travel time this week, so it’s unclear how long these delays will last.

As the MBTA continues their speed restrictions on segments of the Green Line and Orange Line, some riders are saying it's just easier to walk to where they're going. We talk with Green Line riders about the conditions of the T and traveling through the city.

The speed restrictions were implemented across the entire system in a surprise move late last Thursday night "out of an abundance of caution" following a March 6 site visit by the Department of Public Utilities, where officials examined the Red Line between Ashmont Station and Savin Hill and found several issues that required immediate attention, including concerns with priority-one track conditions, electrical access boxes on the right of way and headlight operations within the tunnels.

There was also missing or inconsistent documentation around which repairs were made.

Global speed restrictions were lifted Friday morning on the Red, Blue, and Orange Lines and replaced with block speed restrictions in areas that still need to be inspected or where conditions do not permit normal speeds. Global speed restrictions have remained in effect on the Green and Mattapan Lines, however, which limits trains to going 25 mph on straightaways and 10 mph on curves and other special forms of track, according to the interim general manager.

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