MBTA fires trolley operator in Green Line crash at Boylston Station for being fatigued and ‘inattentive’

The MBTA has fired the Green Line operator who rammed his trolley into another trolley standing at Boylston Station last week, saying he was inattentive and did not have enough rest after working the overnight shift at a second job.

The operator worked the midnight to 8 a.m. shift at the outside job, MBTA officials said. The accident happened just before noon Thursday, less than an hour after the operator had begun his shift at the MBTA.

“It’s clear that this individual did not have a sufficient rest period before operating a Green Line passenger trolley. This individual failed to follow MBTA rules and policies regarding fitness for duty and because of his failure, he caused a collision that resulted in injuries to multiple customers, employees, and damage to MBTA property of more than $500,000,” said Jonathan Davis, MBTA acting general manager.

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“Because of his alarming disregard for customer and employee safety ... he was fired,” Davis said.

T officials did not release the name of the operator or disclose what his second job was.

Davis had no comment on whether MBTA officials believed the operator was actually asleep.

Davis said the MBTA has an aggressive fatigue awareness program that the operator had gone through twice and the operator was aware he needed to show up for duty fit to do the job.

However, Davis said, the MBTA has no specific rules on how much sleep operators are required to get and there is no explicit prohibition on having a second job.

Thirty-seven people were sent to the hospital with minor injuries after the crash. Emergency workers created an alarming spectacle as they flooded the busy area.

Officials said the day afterward that they had ruled out trolley or track failure and were scrutinizing the actions of the operator, a 46-year-old man who joined the T in 2006, had an accident-free record, and was slated to receive a safety award.

The outbound trolley arriving at Boylston from Park Street Station was moving at 10 to 13 miles per hour when it rear-ended the trolley stopped at Boylston.

The crash was the second on the Green Line in less than two months and one of several that have occurred over the decades on the original 115-year-old stretch of the nation’s oldest subway.

It came just days before transportation officials were scheduled to receive a report on outfitting the Green Line with automated signals to stop vehicles before they collide, which would probably cost hundreds of millions of dollars and could require trains to run less often.