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Group Demands MBTA Safety Upgrades After Dangerous Incidents

BOSTON (CBS) -- At the State House Thursday morning, public transit advocates came together, calling on lawmakers to provide more funding for upgrades on the MBTA and raising concerns about the safety of riders.

The Transit is Essential Coalition is calling out a string of recent MBTA incidents, including the Red Line train derailment on Tuesday at Broadway Station and Sunday's escalator malfunction at Back Bay Station, which left nine people hurt.

"Injuries are rare. Incidents like Tuesday are not," said Jerry Johnson, Executive Director of TransitMatters, at the rally on Thursday. "Unfortunately, they are thousands of canceled buses and delayed trains that wreak havoc on the schedule and the lives of people across the region."

red line train derailment
A Red Line train derailed at the Broadway MBTA station (Photo credit: Elisabeth Boyce-Jacino)

There was also the death of a Boston University professor David Jones, who fell through a rusty staircase at the JFK-UMass Station earlier this month.

"I can't imagine what those families are going through, and that reminds us we need to do a lot more," said Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone.

The recent incidents are just a few examples as to why advocates say the MBTA should be upgraded.

"The infrastructure of the MBTA and most of Eastern Massachusetts is very old. It needs a lot of work," said Brian Kane, Executive Director of the MBTA Advisory Board.

Public Transit advocates are also calling on Gov. Charlie Baker to appoint a new fiscal management and control board for the MBTA. The agency has been without one since the end of June.

"We are wondering what Governor Baker is waiting for. He has a stable of resumes, I'm sure, in his office or available to him. Tomorrow is October 1st. What's the hold up?" asked Kane.

Gov. Baker says his administration has invested more than $5 billion to upgrade the T system, and the state is in the process of appointing a new MBTA board.


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