The MBTA has opted not to proceed with the indefinite furlough of 40 commuter rail conductors and assistant conductors as previously planned, Congressman Stephen Lynch says.
The reversal came after Lynch, earlier this week, criticized the decision as well as the MBTA’s recent service reductions — both intended to make up for lost revenues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic — as Massachusetts awaits over $1 billion in transportation funding through the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan federal relief package.
“They have reconsidered their decision to furlough the 40 workers, so those 40 conductors, I am happy to say, will not be laid off,” Lynch told WBUR’s “Radio Boston” on Thursday.
A spokesperson for Keolis Commuter Services, the private company that operates the commuter rail, confirmed the move to the radio station, WBUR reported.
According to Lynch, MBTA officials have also said they plan to review again the service cuts made to subway, bus, commuter rail, and ferry lines.
The South Boston Democrat and the rest of the state’s congressional delegation wrote to MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak on Wednesday, urging MBTA leaders to justify cutting service amid the latest influx of federal aid.
“We just gave the state another billion dollars on top of the billion-plus that we gave them in the CARES Act,” Lynch told WBUR on Thursday. “And while we are trying to help the governor open up the economy, they were cutting service to the very taxpayers who paid for the bailout of the MBTA.”
The MBTA has said that the temporary cuts were needed as ridership dropped off during the pandemic, resulting in lower fare collections.
In a statement, the MBTA told WBUR the agency will put the federal aid to use responsibly and make adjustments to service as needed.
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