The Fiscal and Management Control Board announced it has endorsed the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's (MBTA) plan to improve service for tens of thousands of Commuter Rail passengers over the course of the next five months.
Under an agreement between the MBTA and Keolis Commuter Services, the areas of focus include on-time performance (OTP), staffing, operations, equipment maintenance, customer service, fare collection, and winter weather resiliency plans.
Following last year's unprecedented winter, the five-month agreement instills a sense of urgency into the strategy for service improvements to be made in the short term, according to transit officials.
"We can, and will do better," said MassDOT Secretary/CEO Stephanie Pollack. "I'm pleased that Keolis has agreed in writing to work harder to achieve our shared goal of providing the level of service Commuter Rail customers expect and deserve."
Following the significant service disruptions in February and March of this year, a lessons-learned analysis identified areas for improvements to make the Commuter Rail system more reliable and resilient. By incorporating the findings of that analysis into this five-month agreement, the MBTA and Keolis have agreed to measure improvements in service against an overall adjusted OTP goal of 92%, with no individual line below 90%. A working group will develop targets for peak period trains. The OTP goals and provisions of the Service Improvement Plan supplement but do not supersede the Keolis contract.
Additional provisions of the agreement include:
- Committing to ensuring that 65 locomotives are available for service each weekday
- Providing the necessary coach seating capacity required under the contract
- The development of a plan to enhance fare collection
- A complete review of the system schedule to develop revisions that meet customer demand and optimize on-time performance
- Periodic trainings and workforce development programs for Commuter Rail staff
- And a new Life Cycle Maintenance Plan for early detection of future maintenance needs.
"Through this agreement, we are committing to the MBTA and our customers that we will further improve our service," said Keolis GM Gerald C. Francis. "More importantly, this agreement serves as a road map for how we are going to deliver this improved service and rebuild the confidence and trust of our passengers by delivering on this commitment."