T notes: Privatization at bus garages off the table?
Still no contract details, but comments suggest union retained work
NO ONE IS RELEASING any details about the MBTA’s proposed multi-year contract with the union representing bus machinists, but it would appear the deal doesn’t include the privatization of any garages.
The union has said all along that job security was its only focus, and top transportation officials on Monday praised T management for coming to terms with Local 264 of the International Association of Machinists.
Joseph Sullivan, a member of the state Department of Transportation board and the mayor of Braintree, said the deal was recognition of the professional work the machinists have done. Tim King, who also serves on the MassDOT board, heads the Massachusetts Police Association, and sided with the union during the tense negotiations, thanked union and T officials for working together.
T officials announced more than a year ago their plans to privatize some bus maintenance garages. They asked private companies to bid on the work; only one company, First Transit of Cincinnati, submitted a bid. Local 264 mounted a fierce campaign against privatization, enlisting the help of Democratic politicians at the state and federal level.
Asked why she got involved, Pollack said: “I get involved in things that are important if I can be helpful.” She declined to discuss details.
Real IDs are coming
Massachusetts drivers can start applying for new federally approved driver’s licenses starting March 26, but individuals must appear in-person at Registry of Motor Vehicles offices to obtain them.
Starting in October 2020, so-called Real IDs will be acceptable forms of identification for Massachusetts residents when they take trips by plane or seek entrance to federal buildings. Passports are another form of acceptable identification.
The timetable gives Massachusetts residents about 2.5 years before their existing driver’s license will no longer be accepted for air travel. Officials said residents can make the switch to the new license when their old one expires or, if their license doesn’t expire before October 2020, they can replace it with a Real ID license by paying $25.
Many other states have already embraced Real IDs. Registrar Erin Devaney said 90 percent of residents in most other northeastern states have migrated to the new identification cards.
The RMV is rolling out a new mainframe computer system at the same time it rolls out the Real IDs, but Devaney said her office is ready for the changeover. She noted nearly 172,000 people were serviced by the Registry in December, and 86 percent of the customers were in and out in less than a half hour while only 2 percent had to wait longer than an hour.
T officials said on Monday that 9,883 of the passes were sold in July and August, an increase of 8,000 compared to the same period in 2016. The officials said the cards were used, or tapped, 1 million time during the two-month period, compared to just 300,000 times the year before.