The T is one of the oldest subway systems in the nation and with that age comes major issues that aren’t being fixed.
In 2021 and 2022, the MBTA has experience many incidents that have risked the safety of passengers. There have been six mainline derailments, accidents involving escalators, station facilities in rough condition, and accidents stemming from disabled trains, defective switches, and damaged equipment.
There have been highly publicized crashes involving the Green Line and one that resulted in a death on the Red Line. This also includes five Orange and Red Line trains “running away” in repair yards. In December, a “runaway train” into a train yard resulted in workers being injured.
The Federal Transit Administration has stepped in and has released a number of “special directives” in hopes to save the T.
After investigating the T, the FTA found a common issue that has resulted in many of these problems, poor management and serious worker shortages. Some of the positions aren’t even filled by people who are certified.
The T has come to rely on outside contractors for help on repairs.
This problem of worker shortages and lack of certifications has become very prevalent in the T’s Operations Control Center on High Street downtown, which oversees operation of the four subway lines.
The FTA is also very upset with how the T only focuses on the more dire problems. While other important repairs go untouched until they too become a dire situation.
The state Department of Public Utilities has one of the “special directives” aimed towards them. The feds say the DPU has failed in its role of making sure the T is working to comply with earlier federal safety directives.