Aug 3, 2023 - Transit

MBTA gets a raise

Massachusetts' governor at the Cabot MBTA bus yard in South Boston Wednesday. Photo: Mike Deehan/Axios

Gov. Maura Healey is increasing pay and benefits for the MBTA's drivers and repair workers.

Why it matters: The T lost 860 workers last fiscal year — an attrition rate of 13%.

Driving the news: The MBTA Carmen's Union Sunday approved a new four-year contract that includes an 18% wage increase, signing bonuses, 10 additional days of parental and bereavement leave, and other incentives to help retain workers and recruit new ones.

  • The T's board is expected to approve the contract this week.

The big picture: Understaffing has played a big part in the T's recent service cutbacks and safety issues.

  • New General Manager Phillip Eng responded by ramping up hiring, bringing on over 100 employees per month this year.
  • Healey and Eng hope the new benefits will convince workers to stay with the T instead of taking more lucrative driver jobs at private companies.

Between the lines: Spending to improve service is a major change in tactics from Healey's predecessor Charlie Baker, who took more of an austerity approach with the agency.

What we're watching: The T is making slow but steady progress eliminating the safety problems that have led to speed restrictions, but there's still no clear answer on when things will return to normal.

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