BOSTON (WHDH) - MBTA leaders met for the first time since the Federal Transit Administration ordered the organization to implement immediate changes to the T’s overall safety. In that meeting, T riders demanded both safety and an increased T schedule.

“These safety hazards that are faced by the T are a real problem, but reducing service is not the way to fix that,” one rider said.

The first 40 minutes of the meeting were behind closed doors. When the meeting finally opened to the public, riders took the floor, demanding the T resume full service after it announced a temporary reduced weekend schedule during the week. Riders threw around a potential Labor Day deadline for the T to resume its standard weekday schedule. The MBTA said in the meeting that its service cuts have come in direct response to the FTA report’s findings, including staffing shortages and overall safety concerns.

The MBTA is currently undergoing a hiring blitz and planning to offer a $10,000 signing bonus.

The most recent incidents, the Red Line’s runaway train and an Orange Line train battery failure at Wellington Yard, have prompted the MBTA to remove all new Red and Orange Line trains while an investigation is underway.

Over an hour into the MBTA’s leadership meeting, the FTA report came up. Participants discussed finding ways to fast track critical track work and maintenance, including by leasing or buying more equipment, looking at the unintended and uncontrolled movements by disabled trains, improving staffing levels and the number of hours people are working and developing clear safety procedures and recertifications.

“Obviously, safety is absolutely our first priority here at the MBTA,” General Manager Steve Poftak said. “We absolutely want to address each one of these issues and we want to bring the resources that we need.”

Poftak cited “insufficient staff” as one of the biggest drivers for the T’s safety struggles.

Plans to fix this include implementing a fatigue management program, starting a hiring blitz for dispatchers, offering signing bonuses and bringing back retirees.

The FTA’s investigation, sparked after a man died after getting his arm caught in a Red Line train door, wrapped up last Friday. Still, the MBTA plans to be in direct communication with the federal agency on an ongoing basis. The full investigation will be released in late August.

The Massachusetts House, meanwhile, voted to allocate $400 million from the over $10 billion infrastructure bond bill to the MBTA to address some of these safety concerns.

(Copyright (c) 2022 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox