Don’t Stop the Momentum on T Reform

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on
LinkedIn
+
Today, Pioneer Institute submits testimony in support of MBTA bus maintenance and management reform at a hearing of the Massachusetts State Senate Committee on Post Audit and Oversight. The MBTA is proposing to outsource bus maintenance at 3 of its 9 garages, a practice which has been successful at regional transit authorities across the state.
The proposal would have minimal impact on the agency’s mechanics, who would remain in the Machinists’ union; but would free the T to make needed management improvements currently prohibited by contracts that limit the duties of Supervisors. Modernization of business practices as a result of the proposal could save taxpayers $11 million per year. Studies have found opportunities for improvement in the operation’s software system, standards, purchasing practices, and supply chain management. During the MBTA’s three-year exemption from the commonwealth’s anti-privatization law, the T has seen significant savings when private contractors have been granted oversight of warehouse operations and cash handling. These savings can be invested in critical system upgrades. Read our full testimony, and our op-eds, media coverage, and research below.

Get Updates on Our Transportation Research

Study Documents The Design Challenges, Contracting Issues, And Delays Facing New MBTA Fare Collection System

This new study unearths previously unseen communications between the MBTA and its contractors, showing that the MBTA’s efforts to modernize its fare collection system, including allowing payments with credit cards and bringing “tap and go” technology to Commuter Rail and ferry lines, was riddled with technological challenges and difficulties overseeing contractors as early as 2019, culminating in a 3-year delay to the project’s full implementation.

Transit Innovation Explored: A Bus As Fast As A Train?

Hubwonk host Joe Selvaggi talks with transportation expert Ian Ollis about the findings of his new research paper, "Bus Rapid Transit: Costs and Benefits of a Transit Alternative," which examines the benefits of building Bus Rapid Transit to serve communities looking for faster transit alternatives to a car.

Study Finds Bus Rapid Transit Can Offer Cost-Effective Benefits

Bus rapid transit (BRT) incorporates unique features such as dedicated lanes to provide reliable and cost-effective service while reducing congestion and its detrimental environmental impacts, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

Study Raises Concern That Annual T Fare Evasion Costs Could Rise By More Than $30 Million Under AFC 2.0

According to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the MBTA’s $935.4 million fare collection system (AFC 2.0) that is scheduled to be implemented in 2023 will reduce fare evasion by $35 million over a decade. But the T announced in 2021 that evasion could actually increase by up to $30 million under AFC 2.0, and now a Pioneer Institute study warns that insufficient fare enforcement could drive that figure even higher under the new system.

Pioneer Applauds MassDOT for Allston Project All At-Grade Plan

Pioneer Institute applauds the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (Mass DOT) for its decision to move forward with an all at-grade design for the “throat” area as part of the massive $1.7 billion Allston I-90 Interchange project announced yesterday by State Secretary of Transportation Jamey Tesler. Pioneer had proposed that MassDOT should revise its Scoping Report on the I-90 Allston Multimodal Project and recommend an additional option - a modified at-grade option for the throat area - to the Federal Highway Administration.

Enduring the Maelstrom: Lessons from MassPort Leadership During 9/11

Hubwonk host Joe Selvaggi talks with author and former MassPort CEO Virginia Buckingham about her recently released book, On My Watch: A Memoir, which chronicles her experience leading the organization through 9/11 and the life and leadership lessons learned from that tragic day.

MBTA Ridership Trends Compared to Public Transportation Agencies Nationwide

/
The COVID-19 pandemic had a devastating effect on our economy,…

The Effects of the COVID 19 Pandemic on MBTA Light Rail Ridership

/
In 2020, the COVID 19 pandemic had an unprecedented impact on…

Urban Cyclist Fatalities: Improving the Safety of Our Commuters

Pioneer set out to compare fatality data, miles of bike lanes, and cyclist commuter statistics in the five largest cities in the Northeast to develop recommendations for what urban areas can do to improve dangerous riding conditions. 

Open Letter: Extend the Term of the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board

Read Pioneer Institute's Open Letter urging policymakers to extend the term of the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB), which is currently scheduled to sunset at the end of June.  The Letter also calls for the Control Board to continue to be made up of transit experts rather than political appointees, and recommends that an independent audit office be created that reports directly to the FMCB.

Traffic Strikes Back: New Transportation Strategies for Post-Pandemic Prosperity

Host Joe Selvaggi talks with Chris Dempsey, Director of Transportation for Massachusetts, about road and mass transit innovations that could address traffic challenges in a high-growth, post-pandemic economy.

Pioneer Institute Statement on MBTA Service Cuts

Even as MBTA ridership and revenue have been gutted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the system remains a lifeline for so many residents in the Greater Boston area, especially those working in essential services like health care or in industries most impacted by the pandemic such as the restaurant sector.  Facing a crisis of this magnitude, T leadership must first do its all to rethink how it delivers services before reflexively making cuts.

Public Comment on I-90 Allston Multimodal Project

Last year, Pioneer Institute proposed that the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT)  revise its Scoping Report on the I-90 Allston Multimodal Project and recommend an additional option - a modified at-grade option for the throat area - to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).  The Institute believed then and continues to believe that an all at-grade design will shorten construction time, lower costs, create fewer negative economic and congestion impacts, and improve neighborhood access to parkland along the Charles River.

Clearing Boston’s Throat: What the I-90 Allston Project Portends for Metro West Commuters

/
Join hosts Joe Selvaggi and Pioneer Institute’s Mary Connaughton, and guest, former Mass. Secretary of Transportation Jim Aloisi, as they discuss the I90 Allston Multimodal Project, its long-term benefits, and their concerns for the metro west commuters and communities during the project’s decade-long construction.

COVID-19 Silver Lining: MBTA Takes Advantage of Ridership Lull to Accelerate $8.5 Billion Modernization Program

Pioneer Institute congratulates the Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) and MBTA management for taking advantage of the precipitous ridership declines due to the COVID pandemic to dramatically accelerate ongoing construction projects.

A Time to Build

/
The MBTA is taking advantage of anemic low ridership from the…

Open Letter to MassDOT Board Regarding I-90 Allston Multimodal Project

/
Read Pioneer's Open Letter to MassDOT on the I-90 Allston Multimodal Project, Boston, MA National Environmental Policy Act Review Scoping Report: All At-Grade Option and 8-lane Turnpike – Throat Area

Survey Suggests Demand for Telecommuting After COVID-19 Crisis

Citing an avoidance of the commute and more flexible scheduling, nearly 63 percent of respondents to Pioneer Institute’s survey, “Will You Commute To Work When The COVID-19 Crisis Is Over?” expressed a preference to work from home one day a week, and a plurality preferred two to three days a week, even after a COVID-19 vaccine is available. Respondents cite social isolation as the biggest drawback of remote work. The survey was conducted from April 22nd to May 15th, and received responses from over 700 individuals.