Apr 11, 2023 - News

New MBTA chief Phillip Eng kicks off work at embattled agency

Photo: David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Phillip Eng officially started as the MBTA's general manager yesterday by commuting into downtown Boston on the Blue and Green Lines.

The big picture: Eng has the unenviable job of righting the MBTA. The agency faces worsening hiring and safety problems that have left T lines operating at slow speeds with abnormally long wait times.

  • Safety precautions and slow service have alienated riders, starved the T of fare revenue and set up a looming budget crisis for the agency.

What they're saying: "To people who have lost faith in the T, I tell them, stay tuned. I know we can turn it around. I'm going to demonstrate we can turn it around," Eng said according to NBC Boston.

  • The new GM said the T is going to have to balance competing priorities.
  • Safety, reliability and communication are his top goals.

Background: Eng retired last year after running the New York MTA's Long Island Rail Road, the largest commuter rail line in the U.S., for four years.

  • Eng led the Long Island Rail Road from some of its worst performance in decades to the best on-time performance in its history.
  • He'd been an engineer with the New York state transportation department for decades before that.

What's next: Eng said that once riders start to hear the MBTA's plan to turn itself around, they'll see that the transit agency has a real strategy and will start to see meaningful improvements.

Bottom line: Eng is betting that riders will begin to trust the T if the agency is open about its problems and delivers on promises to fix them.


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