Suffolk County

Feds reviewing safety of the MBTA

BOSTON, Mass. — Ongoing safety issues with the MBTA reportedly has federal safety officials extremely concerned. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) recently started an inspection of the transit system.

As state transportation leaders and Mayor Michelle Wu met for an announcement at the Talbot Ave. Commuter Rail Station in Dorchester, the T is facing heat from the FTA over a string of safety incidents.

The feds are now inspecting safety on the MBTA. The T’s general manager, Steve Poftak, admitting it’s a rare move. “Not in my memory have we had this formalized process, but we interact regularly with the FTA both on safety issues as well as a number of other policy and regulatory issues,” he said.

The FTA wrote a letter to Poftak criticizing the T’s safety protocols. The FTA told Boston 25 News on Tuesday the inspection will help the MBTA make improvements after several high profile safety failures, including the recent death of Robinson Lalin, who’s arm got stuck in the door of a Red Line train at Broadway Station. He was dragged 100 feet to his death. A preliminary investigation found a door safety system malfunctioned on the train.

[ Read: NTSB: Preliminary investigation links MBTA Red Line rider’s death to door malfunction ]

In July, a Green Line accident sent 27 people to the hospital. And in January, a woman was killed when her car was hit by a Commuter Rail train in Wilmington at crossing where the gate and flashing lights didn’t activate. “Having subject matter experts come in and take a look at the system, if they identify gaps, we will solve those gaps. We will mitigate these problems,” Poftak said.

Poftak pointed out they’ve almost doubled the size of the T’s safety department over the past two years.

The T says the feds will begin on-site inspections this week.

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