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‘Enraged and disgusted’ riders grill new MBTA GM in first public meeting

Daily commuters of the T were heated during public comment Wednesday at the MBTA’s first Board of Directors meeting under new General Manager Phillip Eng.

“I’m enraged and disgusted of the conditions of the MBTA and what you’ve let go on for so long,” one caller said during public comment. “It takes me two hours coming home just on the train from Kendall Square to Quincy Adams. That is disgusting, would you want to do that commute every day? I work a part-time job commuting, 15-20 hours a week.”

A new poll by Boston Business Journal and Seven Letter shows most MBTA riders are fed up with the system with about three out of four people saying the T has become even more unreliable over the last six months.

“I’m getting threatened to lose my job because I can’t get to work on time because you people can’t do your job,” another caller said during public comment.

A lot of the complaints are around the constant slow zones on the T, and that’s top of mind for the new GM.

“Status quo is unacceptable right and if we don’t do this work, then we’re going to continue to run slow speeds,” said Phillip Eng, General Manager for the MBTA.

Eng announced a new project to eliminate speed restrictions on the Blue Line starting from Bowdoin to the Aquarium stop.

That means the Blue Line will need to shut down early at 7 PM every night for about a month to get the work done starting next week.

“Reducing that time frame for that overall work from six months to one month, that allows us now to get onto another line sooner rather than later as well,” said Eng.

The next focus, he says, will be the Red Line, where he’s hearing most of the complaints.

The MBTA is still working on a schedule to fix all those slow zones with the goal to get most of that work done this year.

“I know that I can say anything I want here, proof will be in the results,” said Eng.

General Manager Eng says the work along this stretch of the Blue Line should be done by the end of May.

Another issue they’re trying to tackle: staffing shortages.

The MBTA has more than 1,000 job openings right now.

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