Legislative Committee releases MBTA safety report

BOSTON — A joint legislative committee that began hearings on MBTA public safety over the summer has released its final report. The two chairs of the committee are hoping the information is used when new management takes office under the governor.

Sen. Brendan Crighton and Rep. William Straus were the committee chairs.

“Understand how we got here, what we have been doing and also potential options moving forward,” said Crighton.

The panel of legislators heard from the now former MBTA general manager, employees and other transportation experts including former U.S. Secretary Ray LaHood.

One major recommendation out of the report is to assign the MBTA as the operator of subways and buses, and take away everything else on its plate including the Commuter Rail and construction projects.

“Relieve the T of distractions, important tasks. 3:46 “allow them to focus on the core mission of delivering transit services,” said Straus.

The legislators also believe oversight needs a major overhaul. The report suggests making sure the current oversight agency, Department of Public Utilities, has a clear role on oversight, re-assign the oversight to another agency or create a new agency.

“The reality is that without managers in regards to safety bring it as their focus every day, you’re not going to get the changes at the T in terms of safety performance that the public has every right to expect,” said Straus.

“Not only making sure communication within the organization, making sure the workers are comfortable raising these safety issues up to the top but also that we are communicating with the public,” said Crighton.

We asked the MBTA if they would use the joint committee report moving forward and a spokesperson told us, “The MBTA’s sole focus is on continuing to make the investments and improvements necessary to deliver safe and reliable transit services on a daily basis.”

The committee is also counting on the new management to by crystal clear with the public.

“I think there is a level of transparency that I’m looking forward when a new GM is picked,” said Straus.

“We can never build back that level of trust with our ridership if the system is not safe,” said Crighton.

The current MBTA General Manager stepped down this week. Right now there is no clear timeline when a new GB will be named.

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