FTA reviewing MBTA’s safety practices after faulty train door dragged and killed rider

FTA reviewing MBTA’s safety practices after faulty train door dragged and killed rider

Robinson Lalin was attempting to exit a train car on April 10 when the door closed on his right arm. He was dragged more than 100 feet along the platform and track below before he was killed.
May 10, 2022

By Heather Morrison, MassLive

The Federal Transit Administration is reviewing the safety practices of the MBTA in Boston after a federal report found that a faulty safety mechanism allowed a Red Line train to continue moving as a man was dragged to his death.

“The MBTA fully supports the FTA’s review of the Authority’s safety-related processes and practices and welcomes a constructive and collaborative process that focuses on making the T a transit industry leader in safety and reliability,” a spokesperson for the MBTA said in a statement.

Robinson Lalin, a 39-year-old Dorchester resident, was attempting to exit the train car at the Broadway Station on April 10 when the door closed on his right arm. He was dragged more than 100 feet along the platform and track below before he was killed.

In a letter from the FTA to the MBTA, the federal agency said it is “extremely concerned with the ongoing safety issues” and will take on an “increased safety oversight role” of the transit system, the Boston Globe reported.

A preliminary investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board found the train car had a malfunctioning safety feature that should have prevented the train from moving forward if the door was obstructed.

In an interview with MassLive, Kelvin Lalin blamed faulty sensors on the old train cars for his uncle’s death. He said his uncle would still be alive today if the trains were properly maintained.

“They’re still out here using old Red Line trains,” Kelvin Lalin said. “The MBTA has spent a lot of money on trains, but I don’t know where it’s going.”

The MBTA is spending more than $1 billion on new subway cars. There are 70 new Orange Line cars are being put into service and 12 new Red Line cars are expected be in service this spring.

The MBTA said there has been $8 billion in infrastructure improvements over the past five years, “including new tracks and revamped stations as well as new buses and trains all to make the system safer and more reliable.”

“The MBTA has almost doubled the size of its Safety Department in the past three years, broadening the scope of its activities and training thousands of employees to help foster a culture in which safety is prioritized and integrated into the MBTA’s core mission of delivering safe and dependable services,” the statement read. “Unwavering in its commitment to its riders and employees, the MBTA has strong, well-funded plans for delivering safe, accessible, and reliable services for decades to come.”

Officials from the FTA and MBTA held a meeting last month to initiate the process between the two organizations.

A Safety Panel report from December had 61 recommendations. Of those, 40 were completed, 17 are in progress and 4 are pending due to further evaluation.

Some of the safety projects include the new Red Line and Orange Line cars and the Green Line train protection system, which is expected to reduce the risk of train-to-train collisions.

Following the identification of the faulty door, the MBTA tested all other trains in its fleet, but found no other cars with similar malfunctions, federal officials said.

©2022 Advance Local Media LLC

Visit masslive.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Sign up for Transit Intelligence

News and commentary in public transportation, and the latest job postings and solicitations.

Daily News Briefing