Feds Intervene in Boston’s Transit Troubles

The Federal Transit Administration issued a scathing review of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s performance last week, ordering major changes at the Boston area’s transportation agency.

2 minute read

September 4, 2022, 7:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

An MBTA Orange Line train bound for Oak Grove waits at a station.

THONGCHAI.S / Shutterstock

“The Federal Transit Administration has ordered the troubled [Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority] to address 53 problem areas ranging from staffing and safety management to communications and operating policies, and called for an overhaul of safety culture inside the T,” report Laura Kraegel and Beth Healy for WBUR.

The FTA published a 90-page “Safety Management Inspection” [pdf] report on August 31, followed by a series of special directives that require the MBTA to “address personnel, deficiencies and inadequate operating conditions, policies, procedures and training that compromised a culture of safety at the agency,” according to an FTA press release.

“[T]he FTA said its investigation found that the MBTA had starved its operating budget by moving $500 million into its capital budget this year, putting stress on staffing and safety,” report Kraegel and Healy. “The FTA ordered the T, its board and the state's Department of Public Utilities to collaborate to prioritize safety for riders and employees.”

“The FTA stopped short of assuming safety oversight of the T — as it did with the Washington D.C. transit system in 2015 — but indicated it would remain involved in ensuring the directives are resolved,” adds the article.

More details on the FTA’s report, the special directives, and the recent history of transit in Boston are included in the source article linked below. The MBTA’s entire Orange Line and parts of the Green Line are currently closed.

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