While riders made their way into work Tuesday amid a respite from the cold spell, the head of the MBTA took a little journey on Twitter, blocking reporters from following him, changing his account to private, and then making it public again.
Hired in September, T General Manager Luis Ramírez over the past week or so has helmed the T through some of the worst winter weather since snow and cold caused a service meltdown three years ago.
Midway through the cleanup from last Thursday's snowstorm, Ramírez responded to a discussion on Twitter, writing, "The current temperatures are extreme and transit systems are not designed for Siberian temperatures." He also wrote, "No system in North America is designed for Siberian temperatures that last for more than a few hours. In fact, fire hydrants are freezing, house pipes are bursting. All local infrastructure is impacted."
Ramírez was responding to a discussion that involved former Transportation Secretary Jim Aloisi and Kevin Ready, an aide to gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez, according to Ready.
The general manager's tweets were deleted but images of them dated Saturday were preserved and shared by MassInc Polling Group President Steve Koczela.
On Tuesday, reporters and others posted on Twitter that they had been blocked by Ramírez who subsequently took his account private, changed his handle to @LMRAMIREZGM, permitted access to at least one previously blocked reporter, and then made the account public again.
"This account has been updated. I look forward to communicating with our ridership," Ramírez wrote around 9:30 a.m.
Meanwhile, on the T's main social media account, the transit agency reported a temporary outage of the countdown clocks that riders use to see when the next train is expected to arrive.