During the winter just past, I believe I referred to Boston’s transit system, the MBTA or T, as a retirement plan that ran a railroad to lose money. But they can multi-multitask.
We few, we happy few
Unscheduled absences by employees of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority resulted in the cancellation of more than 6,400 bus trips in January and February, a panel appointed to assess T management has found.
The panel, convened by Governor Charlie Baker as the MBTA struggled to recover from a series of heavy snowstorms, found that T workers were absent 11 to 12 percent of the time in 2014, roughly twice the rate reported by transit systems in other major US cities.
Overall, T employees are out of work for an average of 57 days per year, the report found. Those numbers include vacation days, as well as categories such as jury duty, sick leave, injuries, and family medical leave.
In the report, the panel attributes what it calls “excessive absenteeism” at the T to “weak MBTA management.”
As a result, “tens of thousands of trips are canceled each year due to unplanned absences,” according to a draft portion of a report obtained by the Globe.
Fifty-seven days off? That’s 11 1/2 weeks! Do they think they’re school teachers too? And that’s the average!!! Many would have had even more off days.
James O’Brien, the president of the Boston Carmen’s Union, called the numbers “distorted” because they combine so many categories of absences. Joe Pesaturo, a spokesman for the T, declined to comment on the report.
It’s the “categories” that are the problem. How many “sick days” does our “average” reader get? Jury duty occurs once every three years at most, and even then is often just a day.
There are 260 work days a year, and the average—average—T “worker” takes off 22% of them, more than one a week.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has failed to spend almost half of the money it has budgeted since 2009 for crucial upgrades to its aging vehicles, stations, and other infrastructure, according to findings from an expert panel convened by Governor Charlie Baker.
Though the T planned to spend about $4.5 billion on upgrades from the fiscal year 2010 to 2014, the agency left unused about $2.2 billion in grants and money it could have raised through bonds. That contributed to “chronic underinvestment and an acute backlog in fleet, facilities, systems, and infrastructure,” according to a portion of the report obtained by the Globe.
In the 2014 fiscal year, the report said, the T planned to spend $1.3 billion on crucial long-term upgrades. In reality, the agency spent just $631 million.
In early March, the agency said it would cost about $6.7 billion to repair and modernize its trains, rails, and stations. But an administration official said the panel believes the number is actually substantially higher.
They didn’t buy new trains, and their employees could barely bother to show up for work. It’s a wonder anything ran this winter. The only public service the T provides is a dry place for the bums to sleep and the buskers to play.
Joe Pesaturo, a spokesman for the T, declined to comment on the report.
He was probably on “family medical leave”. Why should he be the only one to show up for work?