Following a safety inspection of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) rail transit system, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) issued a report of findings and informed both MBTA and the state agency in charge of its oversight — the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) — of needed safety changes that are in addition to directives FTA announced in June.
The new Special Directives announced require MBTA to address personnel, deficiencies and inadequate operating conditions, policies, procedures, and training that compromised a culture of safety at the agency. FTA also gave DPU one additional Special Directive requiring DPU to improve its capacity to provide effective safety oversight of MBTA. A Special Directive requires an FTA-regulated transit agency or oversight agency to take immediate action on safety issues within a specific period.
As the state safety oversight agency chosen by the Governor of Massachusetts, the DPU is responsible for overseeing the safety of the MBTA system. All State Safety Oversight Agencies are expected to effectively implement their oversight programs to ensure rail transit agencies comply with Federal safety requirements and best practices.
“Transit riders shouldn’t have to question whether they will get to their destinations safely,” said Veronica Vanterpool, FTA deputy administrator. “Safety is FTA’s top priority, and our role is to hold transit agencies and state safety oversight agencies accountable on behalf of transit riders and workers.”
The Special Directives direct the MBTA, the MBTA Board of Directors, and the DPU to execute the actions identified and prioritize safety for MBTA’s users and workforce. FTA has set timelines for action and will continue meeting with MBTA and DPU to review progress, until such time as FTA determines these meetings are no longer necessary or may be conducted with less frequency.
FTA conducted the Safety Management Inspection as part of its federal oversight role and to continue to ensure transit remains the safest mode of surface transportation. FTA’s Public Transportation Safety Program lays out the agency’s authority and process for overseeing and supporting transit safety, including issuing Special Directives.
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