The woes continue for the troubled Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). According to an April report in the Boston Globe, the agency told members of its board of directors that MBTA trains came dangerously close to workers in four serious episodes over the last month. The incidents were reportedly caused by miscommunication between dispatchers and construction crews. In a separate event, an employee on the Blue Line went to the hospital after being injured while working on overhead electrical wires.
As a result of the series of worker safety issues and near misses, the Department of Public Utilities (the T’s oversight agency) sent the MBTA an “immediate action letter.” These are only the most recent developments in a long line of safety concerns that prompted a 2022 investigation and report by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) ordering the MBTA to correct 53 problem areas.
MBTA Safety Timeline
From January 2019 to April 2022, according to the federal report, the MBTA had a higher rate of reportable safety incidents than the rail transit industry average. MBTA safety events also increased in severity from 2019 to 2021 — from lesser property damage, short service disruptions, and minor injuries to more serious property damage, longer service disruptions, and more significant injuries requiring hospitalization.
Over the past year, the following developments have addressed safety at the MBTA:
- April-June 2022 — After an “escalating pattern of safety incidents and concerns,” including train derailments, fires, injuries, and fatal accidents, the FTA conducted a Safety Management Inspection (SMI) of the MBTA rail transit system. The federal agency specifically faulted the T’s “lax safety culture.”
- August 2022 — The FTA released an extensive report ordering the MBTA to fix dozens of major deficiencies in multiple areas including staffing, training, internal communications, safety management, and a backlog of maintenance cases.
- August-September 2022 – The MBTA implemented an unprecedented shutdown of the Orange Line for a month of intensive safety work.
- February 2023 — The MBTA published an online safety dashboard that lets the public track the T’s progress in addressing the FTA’s findings.
- February 2023 — The T finished just over a third (36 percent) of the FTA’s action items, with the expectation of 100 percent completion by the end of 2025.
- April 2023 — The MBTA announced its 3-Year Safety Improvement Plan, a document detailing the agency’s commitment to strengthening its safety culture. This plan is in addition to the FTA’s safety management report.
Boston MBTA Lawyers
If you were hurt in an MBTA train accident, bus collision, or other transit incident, you may qualify for financial compensation. At Altman & Altman LLP, we have over five decades of experience representing people injured while using the T.
We can help you seek funds to cover medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and even the wrongful death of a loved one. And because we only charge a fee if we successfully recover for you, there is no financial risk to you. Call us at 800.481.6199 or contact us online to set up a free initial consultation on your MBTA lawsuit today.