MBTA cuts down to single-operator Red Line trains

Soon it will be easier to pay to park at some T stations.
Nicolaus Czarnecki

The MBTA’s  Red Line turns 100 this weekend, and they are celebrating by cutting back the number of operators per train.

Starting Saturday, as the T continues to identify ways to deliver service in a more efficient and cost effective manner, Red Line trains will be operated by one employee, the motor person, rather than two.

Some people will “choose to retire” while others will be shifted to different positions, according to T spokesman Joe Pesaturo.

The projected savings from dropping to single-operators on the Red Line will be roughly $1.6 million annually, beginning in fiscal Year 2014, according to T officials.

“Commonly employed by transit systems around the world, the practice of ‘Single Person Train Operation’ has already been successfully implemented on the Blue Line (since the mid 1990s) and the
Orange Line (since last year),” according to Pesaturo.  

MBTA officials said there have been no safety problems related to the loss of the secondary operators on those lines.

The job of ‘Train Attendant’ is being eliminated, something that members of the Carmen’s Union, “has never embraced,” Pesaturo said.

The T held public hearings on the move to cut down to one operator last May.

Here is a mini-documentary called “The Last of Their Kind: A Video Essay in Defense of Two Person Train Operation,” put together by a local rider concerned about the loss of secondary operators.

The creator of the mini-film, Scott Page, worries one-person train operation will impede efficient service on the line, create doorway safety hazards, and fail to save enough money to put a significant dent in the MBTA’s budget deficit and debt load.


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