The MBTA has promised structural improvements worth $4 billion in light of multiple derailments and operational failures over the last several months.
Train derailments have been a major source of the MBTA’s recent operational issues. On Oct. 30, for example, the B-line experienced a derailment at 2150 Commonwealth Avenue.
The train was reportedly traveling at a low speed when it was derailed due to a system error. This offset caused an afternoon of delays, and the MBTA resolved to supplement the T with multiple shuttle buses between T stops.
Derailments, specifically on the B-Line, have become commonplace for the MBTA. The Boston Globe recently reported that the Green Line, of which the B-Line is a component, had the most derailments in the nation last year.
Following these derailments, the latest incident on the Orange Line served as an impetus for the $4 billion capital investment in MBTA service improvements. A train, stopped at Back Bay Station, started to fill with smoke. When the T’s doors failed to open, passengers were forced to break the train’s windows to escape.
Bystander Chris Herring commented via Twitter that "[there was] thick smoke" coming from the platform.
The MBTA has subsequently announced that the smoke was due to an overheated motor, which led to a fire on the train.
These failures have culminated in the approval for $4 billion in infrastructural improvements, which should be implemented in the next two years.
These improvements will reportedly include new trains and buses and enhancements to tracks, a primary factor in the recent derailments.
Additionally, the investments will address the issue of fare evasion on the Green Line, which results in an annual loss of as much as $1.9 million.
The new fare collection systems, along with the new trains, buses, and tracks, will hopefully remedy the financial and operational issues faced by the MBTA.