MBTA: Walking the Tightrope
On the face of it the MBTA and its new General Manager Richard Davey are to be praised for taking action against 8 managers accused falsifying maintenance records at 3 garages. Could this actually be the beginning of reform?
Ah, but in the 18’th paragraph of The Globe’s story on the subject, one of the disciplined managers asserted (anonymously) that recording phantom maintenance is longtime standard procedure. If one recalls (as I do) 30 years of stories of greed, dishonesty and contempt for the public at the MBTA, the claim is to be taken seriously.
The larger question is, Is the MBTA not too big not to fail? Until 1964 the Metropolitian Transit Authority ran buses and rapid transit in 14 communities, which paid assessments for the service. In order to get Quincy to agree to accept rapid transit, The MBTA was created and expanded, and its assessments dispersed, to more than 100 communities, many receiving no service. For 45+ years the agency has been like a drunk walking the tightrope — not exactly walking in a straight line, but nonetheless moving purposively in one direction. Bankruptcy.
David A. Mittell, Jr.