Tuesday, February 17, 2015
"The MBTA has introduced a winter sustainability program called "Adopt a Track". The primary purpose of this program is to allow local businesses to help the MBTA out in maintaining a certain portion of subway tracks during inclement weather. This, in turn, is expected to significantly ease the burden on the MBTA's regular employees. The MBTA worker's union has graciously agreed to let this program be test-driven for the next three years but on the condition that current MBTA compensations do not change during the course of this test-drive. The program took effect yesterday. In return for their sponsorship, participating local businesses will receive discounted winter fares for their employees and year-round sign branding at highly preferred spots in the sponsored areas. Not all of the MBTA's tracks will be a part of this program. Initially, this program will be test-driven on those portions of tracks and any stations that lie on those tracks which have been identified as extremely vulnerable to inclement weather.
A month ago, the MBTA started approaching local businesses with a large number of employees who rely on public transportation for their commutes. The MBTA has said that about a dozen businesses have shown an interest in this program and that a review panel is currently in the process of choosing sponsors. "By the end of this week, we will have chosen sponsors based on their own track record in being prepared for and doing a job right the first time around.", said an MBTA spokesperson, "We are seriously looking at companies with good work cultures and hands-on management. Given our own situation, we don't want to come across as too picky. But we want this program to work. We need this program to work. So we might as well plan and execute it carefully." The spokesperson said that the MBTA worker's union already has a team standing by to assist the chosen sponsors in rapidly putting together a contingency plan. "We will be ready for the next snow storm." the spokesperson said, "Bring it on.""
It is understood that the "Adopt a Track" program will allow regular MBTA employees to focus on just their core tasks while allowing the MBTA itself to redirect some of its revenues, which it might otherwise have used for dealing with inclement weather and fixing failed equipment, to finally start paying off the principal in its long-standing debt.
The MBTA and it's worker's union made a joint announcement that the "Adopt a Track" winter program has been extended by another seven years. The program originally test-driven for three winters has been a resounding success, according to the MBTA.
"We saw immediate fruition with this program in 2015 when two major snowstorms, that followed in the heels of that winter's first storm Juno, did not disrupt MBTA services as winter storm Juno had done." said an MBTA spokesperson, "In the ensuing two winters, this was the case as well as MBTA services only experienced the occasional minor delay despite several major snow storms in each of those winters.
Our regular employees were very happy when they were able to operate trains and stations without having to worry about maintenance work." gushed an MBTA spokesperson, "Most of the equipment that had failed during Juno have not failed since as our Sponsors have stayed on top of these storms. We are now able to consistently keep our tracks and equipment clear of snow and ice. And, for the first time in years, we are receiving more favorable than negative reviews from our commuters."
"And we have been able to pay off $xyz amount of debt. It's a dent in the overall amount we have still to pay off. But it's a huge step in the right direction."
The Boston area has seen a noticeably renewed amount of economic activity since the "Adopt a Track" winter program took effect. In a recent poll conducted by Blasted News, 83% of pollsters gave the MBTA a thumbs-up for reliable services. "That's unprecedented. I think the MBTA finally got something right." said Fook Me, a Professor of Transport Studies at the University of Boston, "This program has caused local businesses and the MBTA to develop a sort of emotional investment in each other. ""