In a response to a letter from MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak, Massachusetts Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren called the new details on the Orange Line's slow zones "an important first step towards rebuilding trust in the T," but still called for more accountability from the public transit system.
In a letter addressed to Senator Markey that followed up on the recent senate hearing in Boston, Poftak outlined the timeline for remedying the slow zones that remain on the Orange Line, after the 30-day closure. Most remaining slow zones on the Orange Line, particularly stretches north of downtown Boston, are "scheduled to be lifted in November and December," Poftak wrote.
The lawmakers applauded the information being made public, but called for continued transparency and more progress toward getting the MBTA back up to full speed.
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"While providing this information is a small step forward, the MBTA still has a long journey ahead," the two lawmakers wrote in the letter. "It is frustrating that some Orange Line speed restrictions will remain in place more than two months after the conclusion of the month-long shutdown, despite earlier promises that the shutdown would quickly yield faster service. The MBTA also still must work to implement the 53 safety actions identified by the Federal Transit Administration."
Four of those slow zones -- from Community College to the "Sullivan Flyover" on the northbound side, plus three sections between Sullivan Station to the North Station portal heading southbound -- will remain in place while work continues "through the month of November," Poftak said. Two others near the crossover at the Jackson Square station in Jamaica Plain are set for ongoing work "through the next 60 days before the speed restriction can be lifted to the 40 mph line speed."
In addition to the new information about the slow zones, which is detailed here, Poftak also brought up its ongoing development of a travel time dashboard that is expected to be available on its website sometime this winter.
“Riders will soon have a Travel Time dashboard to readily access how long a typical trip on their subway lines will take, and the MBTA must ensure that this dashboard is easy to locate and understand," the two senators wrote. "In the same way that we check the weather forecast to plan our days, riders should be able to use the dashboard to more reliably plan their commutes. We also expect that the MBTA will meet its winter deadline for providing this information."
You can see the full letter from Senator Markey and Senator Warren here.
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The State House News Service Contributed to This Report