New MBTA chief Phillip Eng kicks off work at embattled agency
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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