A series of crashes and malfunctions of T cars and equipment this year are a “warning” that the MBTA needs to make changes now, a transportation expert said.
A Red Line train with 47 people aboard derailed at Broadway station Tuesday morning, leading to shuttle service replacing trains for the rest of the day into the evening commute. The MBTA is investigating the derailment, which is just one of several high-profile issues that injured riders and disrupted commutes:
— Just two days before the Red Line derailment, an escalator at the Back Bay T station suddenly began running in reverse at high speed, sending people tumbling to the ground. Nine people were taken to the hospital and witnesses described the escalator “shredding” riders with “blood everywhere.”
— In late July, a Green Line train slammed into the back of another train outside Agganis Arena, sending 24 passengers and three crew members to the hospital. A federal investigation found the operators shifted the train’s controller into the full power position right before the crash, sending the trolley speeding forward at 31 mph. The operator has been charged with gross negligence and the T is working to fire him.
— In March, one of the T’s new Orange Line trains derailed outside Wellington Station with more than 100 riders aboard, leading to shuttle bus service for the rest of the day. The T pulled all of its new Orange and Red Line trains off the tracks for months following the derailment.
Dr. Carl Berkowitz, a transportation safety expert, said the repeated issues were a big problem for the T.
“These things happen and you know you have to use it as a warning and do something about it,” Berkowitz said. “I don’t think it’s bad luck … I think in the case of derailments it’s not bad luck, it’s maintenance.”
Riders also demanded answers from the T.
“There’s people that got to go to hospital appointments, there’s people that got to go to work, there’s people that got to go pick up their kids,” commuter Shawn Golden said. “These trains in the last two years…The MBTA really needs to be reassessed and something needs to be done about the continuous trolleys crashing, trains failing, and things of that nature.”
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