T gives contractors night tour of bus garages
Visits started at midnight and ended around 2 a.m.
THE MBTA RECENTLY GAVE several private contractors a midnight tour of three of the authority’s bus maintenance garages, which the head of the local machinists union cited as symbolic proof that negotiations over the future of the facilities are taking place out of the public eye.
Michael Vartabedian, the business agent for Local 264 of the International Association of Machinists, said a bus carrying the contractors arrived at the Arborway Garage in Jamaica Plain at midnight two weeks ago and, after a tour there, proceeded on to bus maintenance garages in Quincy and Lynn. The MBTA is seeking bids from private contractors to run the garages and is hoping to cut costs at the facilities by about $12 million a year.
“The governor is not being transparent with this,” said Vartabedian, who accused the T of trying to privatize the bus garages “under the cover of darkness.”T officials privately say a site visit for the bidders was not unusual. They said the visit took place at night instead of during daylight hours to avoid a union response that could have disrupted the workplace.
“From the start, this process has been very transparent with a publicly advertised RFP and multiple discussions at public meetings of the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board,” the T said. “Not wanting to be disruptive during the garages’ busiest hours of the day, the T scheduled the site visits for nighttime when there is less activity in the garages.”