MBTA to stop busing police to protests

Baker says alternative transport will be found

THE MBTA SAID on Friday that it will no longer use T buses to shuttle law enforcement personnel to protests, but it appears private bus operators will now take over that job.

Some MBTA employees earlier this week raised concerns about the T transporting law enforcement personnel to protests responding to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. In an essay on the subject, the employees wrote: “Our buses bring economic access, opportunity, and freedom of movement to our bus-dependent riders, who are disproportionately black. For the MBTA to use those very same buses to bring police and their weapons to those very same people is heartbreaking, hypocritical, and embarrassing.”

Pressured by several members of the T’s Fiscal and Management Control Board on Thursday, the T issued a statement on Friday saying the “MBTA will no longer provide transportation for non-MBTA law enforcement personnel to or from public demonstrations on MBTA buses.”

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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.

Gov. Charlie Baker, at a press conference in Cambridge, indicated transportation may no longer be provided on T buses but it will be provided. He didn’t spell out exactly how that would be done, but it appears a private bus operator will be hired by either the city of Boston or the state.

“We’ll do everything we need to do to make sure resources get to where they need to go to help communities tonight, tomorrow, tomorrow night, Sunday, Sunday night, Monday, whenever it is and wherever it has to be that we’re providing as safe an environment as we possibly can for the people that want to march and demonstrate and the people that want to watch,” Baker said.

Jim Evers, the president of the T Carmen’s Union, issued a statement saying the T has often been called upon to transport law enforcement personnel to special events. “The Union had agreed with MBTA management that we would continue to provide transportation to officers during the ongoing protests but the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board made the decision that our role should end,” he said.