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MBTA to retrain drivers after spike in bus crashes

The MBTA plans to retrain its drivers next month following an alarming number of bus collisions that have resulted in injuries to customers.

There were 153 bus crashes in August, MBTA Chief Safety Officer Ron Ester said, with the majority consisting of collisions with other vehicles or “fixed objects” on the road, such as curbs, trees or utility poles.

Fifteen customers were injured that month, he told the T’s safety, health and environment subcommittee on Thursday, and steps are being taken to try to mitigate the danger.

“Bus operations put together a training with the training school that will be implemented next month to talk about fixed object collisions, and how to actually prevent those from happening,” Ester said. “We thought that was a really good step.”

Ester said his department has found heavy traffic is a contributing factor to the bus collisions, and the risk becomes higher in areas with lots of service stops.

He said there’s been instances of cars striking buses that are stopped, and vehicles hitting buses when they’re making turns.

According to the T’s safety analysis data, bus route 121, which travels through East Boston, is consistently seeing the most collisions. In August, there were 22.05 crashes per 10,000 miles on that route.

Discussions are underway about possibly making changes to that route, which currently runs on narrow streets in high traffic areas during peak hours of the day, Ester said.

“So, we’ll see how that works out,” he said.

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