T notes: Fare gates left open at many stations on Patriots parade day
Power cable outage caused Friday meltdown
THE CITY OF BOSTON estimated 1.5 million people came to the New England Patriots championship parade last week, but MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak says he still doesn’t know how many of them rode public transit.
Poftak, speaking after a meeting of the Fiscal and Management Control Board on Monday, said it takes time to gather fare information from across the transit agency. He also said any count would be off because many fare gates were thrown open during the crush of passengers.
At the Red Line’s Braintree station, for example, close to 200 people were crammed into the station as riders pressed forward to the fare machines. Ultimately, T officials said, the gates were opened and passengers were allowed to go through without paying.
Poftak said gates were opened at other stations as well, with local station personnel, transit police, or officials in the T’s central command center making the call based on safety concerns.
Poftak said the T experienced “some of the largest passenger volumes we’ve ever seen” on parade day, which prompted the transit agency to operate at rush hour levels all day long, add 30 more commuter rail trains to the 507 it normally runs, and add four additional ferry runs between Rowes Wharf and the South Shore.
Power cable caused Friday meltdown
A MBTA power cable along Causeway Street conked out Friday afternoon at rush hour, causing signal problems across the system and severe delays of as long as 30 minutes on the Orange, Blue, and Green Lines.
“The timing of this particular incident really couldn’t have been worse,” said MBTA Deputy General Manager Jeff Gonneville.
Signals tell trains when it’s safe to move forward to the next station. With the system down, employees had to signal trains manually to keep the vehicles spaced at a safe distance.
The MBTA has budgeted more than $100 million for power system improvements and is working on a broader study dealing with the transit agency’s electricity needs.
South Coast Rail financing plan due in March
The project, which would extend commuter rail service to Fall River and New Bedford, moved ahead on Monday as the Department of Transportation board approved an $18 million contract with J.F. White Construction to repair culverts along the project’s path.
Abramo named to T retirement boardThe Fiscal and Management Control Board appointed Mike Abramo, the former chief administrator of the MBTA, to the board overseeing the transit agency’s retirement fund.
Abramo left the T last fall to become chief financial officer at Village Fertility Pharmacy in Waltham. With MBTA pension costs rising, the board is expected to play a role in trying to rein in expenses.