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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Enough already!

Why is it that the MBTA has billions set aside for a tunnel no one wants but can't seem to come up with the cash for a safety program?

These are trying times for Smilin' Dan Grabauskas, what with Green Line crashes and total system power failures. And while the MBTA's general manager had excuses for each inexcusable screw-up, he seems to have nothing to say about the latest piece of news: a plan to install anti-crash technology on the Green Line is already six months behind schedule.

Must be because he figures that any story about delays on the Green Line is not news.

The failings of the regional transit authority in general and the Green Line in particularly sadly does amount to old news. Delayed or non-existent service. Surly "service." Costly overruns in rebuilding underground stations.

But we achieved a watershed in the May 8 crash that sent almost 50 people to the hospital because the Green Line operator was too busy texting to notice a train stopped in front of him. The tally for that mishap -- where thankfully no one died -- is pushing $10 million in medical claims and damaged equipment.

But Smilin' Dan firmly believes banning cell phones from bus, subway and trolley operators is the simple, cheap -- and only -- solution.

We hear constantly that the Green Line is an ancient and complicated system that can't readily adapt to modern equipment. Only problem is the failsafe device in question has been around for 30 years. Isn't that enough time to adapt?

Not when "internal politics" enters the fray.
...The day after a MBTA operator Ter'rese Edmonds died in a crash last year, retired MBTA engineer John Weiser wrote a letter to Grabauskas, urging him to consider an updated signal system.

Weiser said he had helped investigate more than a dozen Green Line crashes in his time at the T from 1978 through 2004, and more than 1,200 derailments. Often, his recommendations for an updated signal system were scrubbed from the final report "due to internal politics," he wrote in his letter to Grabauskas.

Grabauskas did not respond to the letter; [Spokesman Joe] Pesaturo said he did not have a record that he received it.
Maybe Smilin' Dan will be able to find the pink slip that is long overdue for his pay envelope?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's crazy that the Patrick administration gets the Teflon treatment on MBTA issues. Why don't they engage in progressive discipline with Dan so they can fire him for cause and get out of the severance deal in his contract?

May 25, 2009 10:09 AM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

Good point. But it's unlikely he can continue to screw up so royally to trigger the progressive discipline at the point, he said hopefully.

May 25, 2009 12:09 PM  

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