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Green Line derailment highlights MBTA’s transparency problem


A derailment delayed service for more than six hours on part of the Green Line Sunday, but was only reported as a “disabled train” to the public, continuing a lack of transparency from the MBTA around safety issues.

“That seems to be a theme at the MBTA,” said Jarred Johnson, TransitMatters executive director. “I think it’s very clear: some of the folks in MBTA leadership and the Baker administration, they have a problem just being straightforward and being transparent with the riders and the public.

“It’s a real disappointment and a failure.”

In response to a Herald inquiry on Tuesday, MBTA spokesperson Joe Pesaturo said one car of an out-of-service Green Line train derailed near South Street shortly after 1 p.m. on Sunday.

No passengers were aboard the train and there were no injuries. The incident occurred a day before a new Green Line Extension branch opened to much fanfare.

Shuttle buses replaced service on the B Branch of the Green Line between Boston College and Washington Street stations until 7:20 p.m. The cause of the derailment remains under investigation, Pesaturo said.

However, the incident was not reported as a derailment on the MBTA’s official Twitter page, which said the delays were caused by a “disabled train.”

Stacy Thompson, LivableStreets executive director, said whoever is running the MBTA’s social media accounts may not immediately know that there’s a derailment when sending out service alerts.

“I think the real question is, was the T transparent about the derailment when they had the information later on?” Thompson said. “Was that communicated to the public?”

Johnson said the T needs to be more specific in its communication, and shouldn’t be using euphemisms. A disabled train is not a derailment, he said.


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