MBTA to Give Keolis Extra Funds to Improve Service

Commuters wonder if extra funds will make a difference

After a rough start, Keolis Commuter Services, the company running Massachusetts’ commuter rail system, has announced they want more money to improve service.

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority officials said Monday they are also increasing the maximum financial penalties that Keolis could be charged for missing daily performance goals.

Some commuters are wondering if millions of extra tax payer dollars will actually make a difference.

College professor Mark Friedman depends on the commuter rail each day to make it to class on time.

“I was there for the train but it wasn’t there for me,” said Friedman.

Commuters like Mabel Walley said the unexpected delays and cancellations are disruptive and giving Keolis more money may not be the solution.

“I think they should have done a better job from the beginning. Not now,” said Walley.

The MBTA has agreed to pay Keolis an extra $66 Million over the next six years to build a bigger fleet of locomotives and to provide more maintenance.

“The fact that someone needs more money to provide better service shouldn’t come from tax payer dollars – is my point,” Walley said.

State Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said they’re doubling down because it is the only way to improve the service. For the sake of accountability, her agency will use a carrot and stick approach, adding extra fines if Keolis doesn’t deliver.

Like many commuters, Javon Taylor is trying to look past the numerous train breakdowns and delays.

“It’s a good train, you are able to go wherever you want to go,” said Taylor.

Currently, Keolis is still under contract to run the commuter rail for 6 more years. Necn was unable to reach the company for comment.

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