“We’ve listened to our riders, and we hear them loud and clear — bold action needs to happen in order to improve the MBTA at the pace that riders deserve,” MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said in a statement. “This 30-day surge will allow the MBTA to accomplish major and expansive progress on a number of priorities at the same time.”
The shutdown will allow the agency to replace track, upgrade signal systems and improve stations at a rate that would have taken five years had work been completed during off-hours, the MBTA said.
Woman leaps from burning Boston subway train into river below
The maintenance blitz comes after a woman jumped from a train into the Mystic River more than 30 feet below when a rail car caught fire on a bridge last month. Other passengers also bailed out of the train. No one was injured and the woman swam ashore, refusing medical treatment.
In April, a man died after he was dragged along a station platform when his arm got caught in a train door. Nine people were injured in September after a station escalator malfunctioned.
In June, the Federal Transit Administration issued “special directives” after an investigation into what it called “long-standing issues with the MBTA’s overall safety program and safety culture.” Problems included delayed critical maintenance, lapses in workers’ safety certifications and an understaffed operations center, the FTA said.
Work the agency plans to tackle includes the replacement of more than 3,500 feet of a 38-year-old track and ties that will allow for faster service and the installation of upgraded signals and associated systems at two stations.
.@RepPressley and I are calling on the @MBTA to make subway and bus lines fare-free for the duration of the Orange Line shutdown. Marginalized communities will bear the brunt of this devastating shutdown. They can’t carry undue financial burden as well. https://t.co/812UyvIURD
— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) August 4, 2022
Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) said in a tweet Thursday that he and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) are calling on the MBTA to make subway and bus transit free for the entirety of the shutdown.
“Marginalized communities will bear the brunt of this devastating shutdown,” Markey said. “They can’t carry undue financial burden as well.”