Subway system pares back service after collisions, deaths

June 17, 2022 GMT

BOSTON (AP) — Boston’s old, beleaguered subway system is cutting back service following a series of collisions, derailments and deaths prompted a federal review.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority announced Friday it will run fewer trains on three of its lines — Red, Orange and Blue — starting Monday.

Weekday commuters can now expect about an extra five minutes between trains at least through the summer. The MBTA says trains on those lines will run on a schedule similar to their current Saturday frequency.

The transit agency said in statement that the changes are the result of staffing challenges in its Operations Control Center. It said it does not have enough dispatchers to run the normal train schedule while also meeting recent safety orders from federal transit authorities.

“The MBTA is exploring multiple options to add capacity at the Control Center, including an aggressive recruitment campaign, offering bonuses, and potentially hiring back former dispatchers,” the agency added in its statement.


Earlier this week, the Federal Transit Administration issued a series of directives to immediately address “longstanding issues” with the subway system’s “overall safety program and safety culture.”

Among the issues the FTA noted were subway dispatchers working excessively long hours — some even doing 20-hour shifts.

The agency ordered the MBTA to bolster its control center staff, improve track maintenance and ensure that all employee training certifications are up to date, among other things.

The FTA launched a review of Boston’s subway system, credited as the country’s first, in April following several recent accidents that led to injuries or death.