To reform MBTA, stop its outsourcing, stop charging when service is canceled
From Mary O’Brien of Mount Auburn Street, Feb. 28: While discussion rages about how to compensate MBTA riders for their terrible inconvenience during winter service shutdowns and delays, I would like to make suggestions: In the time-honored tradition defined in housing courts, all fares could be collected and placed in escrow until the trains are running (a judgement to be court monitored). Of course, an even more direct action would be to make train service free until, or if, it is court-judged functional.
The weather and MBTA chief Beverly Scott’s honesty have revealed the agency’s corruption and dysfunction: The public has just become aware that much of the cost of running the agency lies in fees paid to Keolis, a French rail company! Now is the time to examine the commonwealth’s practice of double billing. As Scott discovered, the MBTA (along with the Department of Public Health, Department of Public Works, etc.) cannot actually manage the programs under its jurisdiction. These agencies are simply paper tigers providing cover for the millions of dollars pouring into the coffers of private companies such as Keolis, collecting administrative fees instead of making repairs and replacements.Why pay for both? Either the MBTA does the job or Keolis does.
And last but not least, questions and transparency might finally enable the courts to undo the Big Dig debt that is hamstringing this whole operation.