MBTA gets an F for Public Records Law Compliance

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Ten days. That is how long it is supposed to take for a Massachusetts state agency to respond to a public records request.  But here we are, twenty-one days later, and Pioneer has still not received so much as acknowledgement of a request we sent to the MBTA.

You may recall a blog post from July about the MBTA’s poor practices when it comes to public records requests.  In March, Pioneer requested MBTA revenue information from 2014-present, to which the agency replied there were no responsive documents.  This seems impossible since the MBTA has clearly been collecting revenue since 2014. Pioneer also requested fare collection procedures submitted by Keolis and fare collection fines against Keolis from July 2014-present in June of this year, but the MBTA has not acknowledged or responded to this request.

And so the pattern continues.

Twenty-one days ago, Pioneer again sent a request to the MBTA, this time for Fare Collection Procedures, Revenue Reports, and any audits done as outlined in the MBTA-Keolis contract for commuter rail operation. And again, Pioneer is waiting for acknowledgement of the request, as well as the documents.

This is unacceptable behavior from the MBTA.  It’s clear that the abysmal performance we witnessed this past winter isn’t just weather-related, as it has continued into the spring and summer.  If the MBTA can’t operate a reliable service schedule, the least it can do is respond to its public records requests, and do so in the ten days mandated in the state’s Public Records Law.


Lauren Corvese is a student at Northeastern University working at Pioneer Institute through the Co-op Program.