MBTA shakeup: Steve Poftak stepping down as general manager of embattled transit agency

BOSTON — Steve Poftak on Tuesday announced his decision to step down after four years as general manager of the embattled Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority.

In a letter to his colleagues, Poftak wrote, “It is with mixed emotions that I share with you the news that Jan. 3, 2023, will be my last day at the MBTA. Serving as MBTA general manager has been the experience of a lifetime and it has been my honor and privilege to work with all of you.”

Poftak’s decision comes just weeks after a string of incidents, including a woman who was forced to jump from a train that caught fire over the Mystic River, led to a monthlong closure of the Orange Line. During the closure, crews worked to implement much-needed track and signal upgrades.

“While we have faced and will continue to face challenges, I believe in the strength and resilience of the MBTA,” Poftak said.

During his tenure, Poftak did oversee a plan that kept the agency running during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As I look back on my four years as general manager, I take great pride in what we have accomplished together,” Poftak added.

Over the course of the next few months, Poftak vowed to prepare the agency for the transition to a new administration.

Gov. Charlie Baker reacted to Poftak’s announcement, saying in a statement, “I thank Steve for his years of service to the MBTA both as a board member and as General Manager. Steve brought long term stability to the T when it was sorely needed and under his leadership the MBTA has upgraded more infrastructure and vehicles than during any prior period. The T workforce showed up every day during the pandemic when most could stay at home, and thanks to Steve’s leadership during that period, Steve and his team have continued to build a better T every day.”

It’s not clear when a decision on Poftak’s replacement will be made.

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