Elected officials are calling for action after a Red Line train derailed during the Tuesday morning commute, marking the second time in a week that an MBTA train has left the tracks while in service.
After the train derailed at JFK/UMass station just after 6 a.m., commuters were left with the option of using the commuter rail or taking shuttle buses between North Quincy and Park Street. According to The Boston Globe, the shuttle buses were snarled in street traffic, with some trips taking several hours, while passengers looking for a ride on Lyft faced surge pricing.
— Boston Fire Dept. (@BostonFire) June 11, 2019
— Boston Fire Dept. (@BostonFire) June 11, 2019
The @MBTA_CR will provide additional service until further notice:
Middleborough/Lakeville – JFK, Quincy Center & Braintree
Kingston/Plymouth – JFK & Braintree
Greenbush – JFK & Quincy Center
Customers can use a CharlieCard or CharlieTicket to board.
— MBTA (@MBTA) June 11, 2019
MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said during a Tuesday afternoon press conference that shuttle buses would continue to run between North Quincy and Broadway, as well as between Ashmont and Broadway, through the evening commute (Update: Service was restored shortly before 5 p.m.). He said there would also be a “higher level of service” on the commuter rail lines, offering stops at JFK/UMass, Quincy Center, and Braintree.
The derailment caused both significant damage and significant delays, he said.
The latest service disruption follows a Saturday derailment on the Green Line near Kenmore that injured at least 10 people. It also comes ahead of a planned fare hike across the MBTA starting July 1 — timing which did not go unnoticed by passengers and politicians alike in their criticisms of the transit system.
“It is unconscionable that the [MBTA] is raising fares for a broken service,” Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone said on Tuesday. “I am a vocal public transit advocate, but everybody & their dog knows the service itself is a mess. We’ve got to do way better & we have no business charging more.”
Just want to say again that it is unconscionable that the #MBTA is raising fares for a broken service. I am a vocal public transit advocate, but everybody & their dog knows the service itself is a mess. We've got to do way better & we have no business charging more. #mapoli https://t.co/KgwrMTsnvs
— Joseph A. Curtatone (@JoeCurtatone) June 11, 2019
Boston Mayor Marty called the derailments “unacceptable.”
“We need answers, solutions & more funding, and we need it now,” he said.
This week's @MBTA derailments are unacceptable. We need answers, solutions & more funding, and we need it now.
It is imperative that we have a public transportation system for Boston residents and surrounding communities that is safe and reliable.
— Mayor Marty Walsh (@marty_walsh) June 11, 2019
Boston City Councilor Matt O’Malley pointed to the financial impacts of a derailment on commuters, while his colleagues Michelle Wu and Andrea Campbell called for new investment and leadership at the transit agency.
“Don’t need to wait for investigations to be done: it’s not working & needs to change,” Wu wrote.
When a train derails:
❗️An hourly wage worker loses valuable income
❗️A young professional trying to get to an interview on time has to spend $100+ on a ride share
❗️A region has to deal with the consequences of inaction & underfunding of public transit https://t.co/RCsszC5PLp
— Matt O'Malley (@MattOMalley) June 11, 2019
2 @mbta derailments in a week & fares going up in 2 weeks. Don’t need to wait for investigations to be done: it’s not working & needs to change. Need leadership, funding & new governance structure w more accountability + direct rider voice https://t.co/wCf4pPaQ0R
— Michelle Wu 吳弭 (@wutrain) June 11, 2019
Unacceptable that so many #RedLine riders were stranded and severely delayed to work & appointments due to another derailment. Calling on the @mbta and @MassGovernor to INVEST MORE-that means $$$-into making our T a 21st century transportation network! #MApoli #fixtheT
— Andrea J. Campbell (@CampbellforD4) June 11, 2019
Poftak said Tuesday that the two derailments are “wholly unrelated.” The MBTA will be hiring a third party to do an assessment of all derailments that have occurred across the system over the last two years, he said.
According to Poftak, Tuesday’s derailment was the fourth to occur across all services in 2019.
“I want a fresh set of eyes on this to make sure we’re not missing something,” he said.
The general manager said he understood the frustration of commuters, but sought to assure passengers that he uses the system every day and believes it’s safe.
“We hear very clearly and we understand very clearly that this situation with these derailments are not acceptable, and we are taking steps to address that,” he said.
Watch the full press conference below: