MBTA Lays Out Plan For Future Snow Service

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The MBTA is laying out a plan to avoid a total shutdown in service during storms next winter. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
The MBTA is laying out a plan to avoid a total shutdown in service during storms next winter. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

The MBTA is laying out plans to provide at least limited service on snow days next winter, after a total shutdown of the service during recent snowstorms.

The plan is to have a set and reliable schedule during snow emergencies.

Finding A Balance

Boston got a skiff of snow Monday, but that’s not what delayed the MBTA at one point.

Joe Aiello's Red Line train was forced to stand by as President Obama’s motorcade rolled by above. Aiello says compared to this winter, he’ll take a presidential disruption any day.

"I’ll take five minutes over the train shutting down completely for a day over a couple of snowflakes," he said.

The presidential visit also disrupted a hearing at the State House.

"Almost complete attendance here," Rep. Bill Straus, a Democrat from Mattapoisett, said. "And poor Sen. [Thomas] McGee is still stuck with the Secret Service."

The Joint Committee on Transportation heard from Stephanie Pollack. Massachusetts' transportation secretary says during the record snowfall, the MBTA failed to balance service against maintenance.

"The T, the governor, MassDOT — we were trying to make those balancing decisions in real-time under real pressure," Pollack said. "That's not the optimum way to do that."

So next winter, instead of trying to keep everything running only to shut everything down, the MBTA will follow limited schedules during snow emergencies, similar to the way parking bans are planned.

Pollack says the T will also buy more snow-clearing equipment.

"Both to do a better job for winter and also to preserve our aging equipment so we can use it for what we really need it for, which is to carry passengers," Pollack said.

There’s another hearing Tuesday on the commuter rail.

And there will be more after the governor’s panel reports next month on the root cause of this winter’s transit woes.

This segment aired on March 31, 2015.


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Curt Nickisch Business & Technology Reporter
Curt Nickisch was formerly WBUR's business and technology reporter.



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