WASHINGTON (WHDH) - Federal officials ordered the MBTA to immediately improve its safety record following several train crashes and the fatal dragging of a man in a Red Line station — with their scathing report coming one day after two Green Line trains collided between stations.
The Federal Transit Administration launched an investigation following the March dragging death of Robinson Lalin after Red Line subway doors closed on his arm at the Broadway MBTA station. That came after other high-profile injuries, including a Green Line crash sending dozens to the hospital and and escalator malfunction at Back Bay Station causing numerous injuries last year.
And on Tuesday, two Green Line trains “unintentionally coupled” in the tunnel between Government Center and Park Street stations, the same area where two trains collided earlier in the month. Passengers had to walk back through the tunnels to Government Center.
The FTA released a report Wednesday blasting the MBTA and the state Department of Public Utilities, which oversees the T, saying both departments have system-wide problems that need attention now.
“The combination of inadequate procedures and staffing and a safety culture where others look away when individuals do not follow basic safety rules create circumstances that result in unacceptable and entirely unavoidable incidents,” said FTA spokesman Paul Kincaid. “We’ll be ordering both the MBTA and the DPU to address these critical safety issues immediately.”
Federal officials issued special directives addressing problems that can’t wait for a final report, including operations control center employees working 20-hour shifts and returning to work after only 4 hours off, along with 80 percent of heavy rail subway dispatchers having lapsed safety certifications at one point. Each one has its own specific timeframe of between 24 hours and 30 days for the MBTA to respond and take action.
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