A subway car up in flames. Derailments, and runaway trains. And an unprecedented shutdown of a train line that serves hundreds of thousands of people a day. It's all happened in recent MBTA history. In Off Track, NBC10 Boston takes a look at the impacts of the Orange Line shutdown, other ongoing safety concerns and asks the question - will the current service disruptions and maintenance work will be enough?
At one point, Boston was a top-tier city for public transit and a leading example for the rest of the country. But over the years, critics say safety somehow slipped through the cracks. Recently, we’ve seen injuries, malfunctions and even death.
According to a recent report from the Federal Transit Administration, the T has been prioritizing long-term projects over safety for years. Now the agency must launch an entirely new office addressing the FTA’s 53 findings and tackle a whole new list of issues on a tight deadline.
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First up, staffing. Right now, the T is about 2,000 workers short of where it needs to be.
Second, prioritizing safety management information. The FTA says the way information is collected, shared and prioritized is inadequate.
Third, effective safety communications, and improving communications with front-line workers.
Plus operating policies, procedures and training. The FTA says the T needs to assess and develop better rail maintenance programs and fix its radio quality deficiencies – fast.
The pressure is on. Right now, we are on Day 25 of the Orange Line shutdown, which means the clock is already ticking for the MBTA to complete five years of work in 30 days.
So how did we get here? What still needs to be done? And what’s behind the years of turmoil we’ve all seen?
In Off Track, we’ll pinpoint when some transit experts say the T started going downhill. We also explore the possible changes that can get the transit back on track and restore public confidence.
While many of the MBTA issues have been decades in the making, the past year alone has seen a stunning number of safety incidents.