MBTA launching 3-person, external safety review panel

MBTA launching 3-person, external safety review panel

BOSTON — The MBTA is assembling a three-person panel to review the T's safety practices.


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Despite its general manager asserting recently that the T is safe, the MBTA will focus this panel's efforts on maintaining the organization's safety standards.

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Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, former FTA Administrator Carolyn Flowers and former New York City Transit president Carmen Bianco will bring outside perspectives to the MBTA, according to a release.

The panel is expected to finalize a scope of work, preliminary schedule and list of deliverables it expects to issue in the coming weeks.

Monday morning, commuters on the Green Line were forced onto shuttle buses between Riverside and Reservoir due to an electrical issue with damaged wires.

This was on the heels of the June 11 Red Line derailment. The incredibly long delays inconvenienced and frustrated thousands of commuters for days.

"We continue to investigate the root cause of this derailment," MBTA's General Manager Steve Poftak said at the fiscal control board meeting Monday.

Several demonstrators showed up to protest at the meeting and the MBTA said they still don't know what caused the crash. But they say they've ruled out operator error, foul play and track conditions.

Deputy General Manager Jeffrey Gonneville showed some of the damaged equipment that is used to give speed commands. He says 96,000 wires on the Red Line have to be tested.

"There are over 1,800 relays as well," Gonneville said. "These devices that also in some instances need to be tested and verified to see if they're functional."

The MBTA says the Red Line is now running 10-to-11 trains per hour. Prior to the June 11 derailment, typical weekday service was 13-to-14 trains per hour.

"We anticipate that this service level will continue at least through labor day, 10 trains per hour," Poftak said.