BOSTON (WHDH) - Public transit advocates gathered outside the Massachusetts State House on Thursday and called on officials to improve MBTA safety and funding as the agency continues to be plagued by mounting problematic incidents, including a Red Line train derailment earlier this week that caused headaches for infuriated commuters who were forced to deal with lengthy delays and cancelations.
The Transit Is Essential coalition is demanding that state officials allocate more annual funding for public transportation and put a new oversight board into place to avoid future accidents.
“If it’s not safe, we’re gonna run away from it,” said Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, who also serves as an MBTA Advisory Board member. “The business community, us, the universities, we all have a stake in this. We need to stand up.”
Transit Matters CEO Jarred Johnson added, “A reliable, safe, and high functioning T system is essential for Metro Boston’s economy…Providing us access to jobs in key destinations, reducing traffic, congestion, and providing social mobility.”
The calls for change come two days after a Red Line train derailed at Broadway Station and ripped a concrete chunk off the platform.
The slow-speed derailment on the southbound tracks led to service disruptions around 9:45 a.m., shortly after the height of the morning commute, a Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority spokesman said. Shuttle buses were called upon to replace service through the evening commute as MBTA personnel worked to re-rail the damaged train.
Forty-seven people were on the train at the time of the incident. There were no reported injuries.
On Sunday, a malfunctioning escalator threw passengers backwards and shredded their limbs at the MBTA Back Bay Station.
Over the summer, a Green Line operator allegedly shifted their train’s master controller into the “full-power position” moments before colliding with another trolley at more than 30 mph on the B Line near the Agganis Arena, a National Transportation Safety Board investigation found.
In March, an Orange Line train with about 100 passengers on board jumped the tracks at Wellington Station and derailed.
Advocates say the problems will just continue if no changes are made.
“Lets be clear. These disasters are not accidents. They are symptoms of a system that has been underfunded for too long,” said Collique Williams, an organizer with Community Labor United.
Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday insisted that the MBTA is safe for public use despite the rash of incidents.
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