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MBTA GM Steve Poftak announces he’s stepping down in January

“As I look back on my four years as General Manager, I take great pride in what we have accomplished together.”

Steve Poftak, general manager of the MBTA. John Tlumacki / The Boston Globe

MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak announced Tuesday that he will step down from his role leading the embattled public transit agency.

MBTA

His last day will be Jan. 3, two days before Massachusetts’ new governor takes office.

“While we have faced and will continue to face challenges, I believe in the strength and resilience of the MBTA,” Poftak wrote in a letter to T employees. “As I look back on my four years as General Manager, I take great pride in what we have accomplished together.” 

Poftak took on the role at the start of 2019, having previously served as vice chair of the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board.

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However, Poftak faced criticism as the T came under renewed scrutiny amid several high-profile incidents, a highly critical report from the Federal Transit Administration, and an October Senate hearing on MBTA leadership and safety. 

In a recent appearance on GBH’s “Boston Public Radio,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren — who grilled Poftak during the hearing — suggested Massachusetts’ next governor should make changes in MBTA leadership. 

In a UMass Amherst/WCVB poll this week, 48% of voters in counties served by the MBTA said Poftak was most responsible for the agency’s safety issues. 

“While we know we have more work to do on safety, we have made great strides as an organization, building staffing, expertise, and above all, commitment to making the system as safe as it can be,” Poftak wrote in his letter.

Over the next few months, he said he will focus on preparing for the transition to a new administration and new leadership at the MBTA.

“For now, please accept my gratitude for the essential work you do every day here at the MBTA,” Poftak wrote.

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