Baker, Walsh say MBTA needs to be more reliable

BOSTON (WHDH) – State and city officials are calling for improvements to the MBTA after an overheated motor sparked two fires on an Orange Line train on Wednesday.

Governor Charlie Baker and Mayor Marty Walsh both said the MBTA needs to be more reliable.

“This has been going on for how long? And we are still having the same conversation,” Walsh said on Thursday. “It’s not a simple fix but it’s a plan and let’s pay for it.”

MBTA debt was outstanding as of January 1, 2016 in the aggregate principal amount of over $5 billion.

The MBTA board and Mass. Department of Transportation approved billions of dollars in a 5-year Capital Investment Plan last June, which included $1.6 billion set aside for replacing the aging fleet of Orange and Red line trains.

Governor Baker says it will take some time to see the impact of those funds.

The cause of the two train fires on Wednesday was an overheated motor on an Orange Line train at Back Bay station.

City Council President Michelle Wu rides the Orange Line at Back Bay during her daily commute. She said what happened is another example as to why the MBTA needs improvements.

“We really need to make sure that the millions of riders who need the T on a day to day basis get that service they deserve,” Wu said.
She added that there has not been enough revenue or investment to maintain infrastructure and provide quality service.

Video from witnesses shows passengers frantically running through the station and breaking train windows to jump out onto the platform.

Fire officials said five people, including an MBTA Transit Police officer, were treated for smoke inhalation. Two were taken to the hospital.

The MBTA says it will conduct a full investigation into the incident.

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