Keolis on-time performance improves

Keolis on-time performance improves

Wheel fractures continue; new GLX contracts issued

THE MBTA’S COMMUTER RAIL OPERATOR over the last few weeks has done a much better job keeping locomotives running and trains arriving on time, but a mysterious problem with the wheels on passenger coaches doesn’t appear to be going away.

David Scorey, the general manager of Keolis Commuter Services, told the Fiscal and Management Control Board on Monday that the company’s trains last week were on-time (within five minutes of the scheduled arrival time) 94 percent of the time, the best weekly performance since January 2015. He said the company’s on-time record over the last four weeks was also the best since January 2015. Only eight train cancellations occurred over the last four weeks, with only one last week.

The biggest problems were on the Framingham-Worcester Line, where speed restrictions around the about-to-open Boston Landing station and railroad tie work slowed trains, Scorey said. On-time performance on the Worcester Line was 79 percent.

Under its contract with the MBTA, Keolis is required to have 67 locomotives and 369 passenger coaches available for service very day. Keolis met its locomotive target last week for the second week in a row. It made some progress on passenger coach availability, but it still didn’t meet the target. It hasn’t met the target since mid-March.

On Friday alone, the wheels on five coaches were discovered to have tiny nicks and hairline fractures that are not immediate safety threats but could become problems if unaddressed. The fractures cropped up on more than 70 coaches over a three-week period in March and early April. Keolis has hired a consultant to figure out what’s happening with the wheels.

“We’re making some progress, but we’re still not out of the woods yet,” Scorey said.

MBTA ups spending on Green Line Ext.

The MBTA turned on the spending spigot for the Green Line Extension on Monday, handing out an $8.4 million contract to Keolis Commuter Services for some advance work and a $57 million contract to CH2M Hill to manage the construction design team that will eventually build the line into Somerville and Medford. The contract amounts are the maximum possible expenditures.

The contracts are some of the largest since the project was put on hiatus when costs ballooned to more than $3 billion. Now, even as the T awaits final approval for $1 billion in federal funding, the agency is moving ahead with preliminary work.

Joseph Aiello, the chairman of the Fiscal and Management Control Board, demanded assurances from Scorey, the general manager of Keolis, that the company could do the advance work for the Green Line extension while continuing to address a host of other issues related to commuter rail daily performance.

“These cannot afford to slip at all,” Aiello said of the deadlines for the Green Line extension.

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Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

“I’m fully confident we can deliver,” Scorey responded.

Laurel Ruma, a Medford resident who lives along the route of the proposed Green Line extension, said she thinks the T needs to do a better job of communicating with people affected by the Green Line extension work. She said she received a notice inside her door on April 11 that preliminary work on the extension was beginning the next day. She said the T needs to do a better job of communicating with those affected by the work.