It was drizzly, dreary and very early today as Beverly Scott greeted T riders at State Station, but that didn’t keep her from being chipper.
Scott arrived in Boston from Atlanta on Saturday, apparently revved and ready to tackle her new job as general manager of the MBTA.
"At first I thought there was going to be snow, and I was ready for it. I am ready to hit the ground running," she said before waving and saying "good morning" to busy T passengers hustling by, half asleep.
Scott joined Jonathan Davis, who served as acting general manager for the past 17 months, and MassDOT CEO Richard Davey at State Station to mark the activation of new countdown signs at 24 stations along the Blue and Orange Lines. She also made good on a promise that if hired, she would spend her first days on the job getting to know the transit system, and its customers.
By 8 a.m. she had chatted up a T rider who called himself a "monkey expert."
"What are the odds of that? He is one of the top monkey experts in the United States. He's Mr. Monkey Business," she said. "He was my first customer contact for the day."
After shaking a few more hands at State Station, Scott took the T to Chinatown Station. While en route, she sat next to a Metro reader, and introduced herself as the T's new general manager.
Scott seemed optimistic about her new venture heading up the cash-strapped transit agency, but admitted that funding it will be her biggest obstacle.
"Funding is always a major challenge. It is a challenge for every single transportation system across the country," she said. "Winding up, yes I'm going to be very much involved in helping to support and do everything I can, and I think I'll bring lots of different perspectives on funding and tools, but the key thing is working with the team to make sure that we always keep number one in mind - that we are a customer service business.
"We provide a service so we want to provide the best service that we can every single day. Every single one of those dollars that come in, we're doing the best we can to deliver."
When asked about her impression of the Hub's transit system so far, Scott said the customers were "friendly" and that she was impressed with the T's cleanliness.
"I look around and there is no graffiti on the platform, no trash on the tracks. I know (the T) is old, but as my grandmother used to say, 'It could be old, but that is no excuse not to be clean.' It looks like people care, and that means something."
Counting down to a T: