MBTA GM Beverly Scott Resigns

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MBTA GM Beverly Scott Resigns

Postby The ViRoCo » Wed Feb 11, 2015 4:13 pm

I just heard that the MBTA's general manager Beverly Scott had just resigned because of the events that had occurred in the past weeks. I have no news article yet because it is a fresh story. More to be posted soon.
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Re: MBTA GM Beverly Scott Resigns

Postby The ViRoCo » Wed Feb 11, 2015 4:15 pm

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Re: MBTA GM Beverly Scott Resigns

Postby Bramdeisroberts » Wed Feb 11, 2015 4:29 pm

It's good to see that some managerial heads are starting to roll over this. The lack of any sort of foul-weather contingency plan reeks of inept management. Just because it hasn't happened yet doesn't mean that it won't happen, and planning for the unexpected is one of the key things that separates effective management from inept management.

Given that this winter is only the latest in a string of heavy snowfall years, the fact that the folks in the transportation building has had little up their sleeves to deal with a bad snowfall aside from blaming the equipment when the system has been barely operable for weeks now is inexcusable.

After watching the T flail and founder its way through a weather crisis, it's helpful to look back at the marathon bombing and the emergency response to that event as an example of how to manage a crisis correctly. Nobody had used explosive devices in the US against large crowds of people since the 1996 Olympics, but Boston EMS and the hospitals had MCI plans in place and had actually gone and practiced them as well, so that when the actual bombing occurred they were prepared (as much as anyone can be) for such an event, and dozens of lives were undoubtably saved as a result.

Boston has some of the best hospitals, academic institutions, and public safety personnel in the world, so why can't we have one of the best public transit systems in the world as well? It's time we held the T to the same standard that we hold everything else in this town to.
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Re: MBTA GM Beverly Scott Resigns

Postby millerm277 » Wed Feb 11, 2015 4:41 pm

Bramdeisroberts wrote:It's good to see that some managerial heads are starting to roll over this. The lack of any sort of foul-weather contingency plan reeks of inept management. Just because it hasn't happened yet doesn't mean that it won't happen, and planning for the unexpected is one of the key things that separates effective management from inept management.


Well, Ms. Scott only took the job in Dec 2012. So she's only been here for 2 years. Which is not a lot of time to accomplish anything, especially if said contingency plans require equipment purchasing. This is also a completely unprecedented and unheard of amount of snow and duration.

Boston has some of the best hospitals, academic institutions, and public safety personnel in the world, so why can't we have one of the best public transit systems in the world as well? It's time we held the T to the same standard that we hold everything else in this town to.


Boston has some of the best funded hospitals and academic institutions in the world, and I'm pretty sure the public safety personnel are at least on par with other major cities. Maybe you could hold the MBTA to the same standard if anyone was actually willing to fund it to that standard. Which they haven't for decades.
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Re: MBTA GM Beverly Scott Resigns

Postby Rockingham Racer » Wed Feb 11, 2015 4:50 pm

Her news conference yesterday didn't help her, IMO--loaded with hot air rhetoric. OTOH maybe she sees some writing on the wall with lack of gubernatorial support--both moral and financial.
This guy seems to want to make chicken salad out of chicken you-know-what in terms of the rail equipment that is trying to provide service to commuters.
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Re: MBTA GM Beverly Scott Resigns

Postby Gerry6309 » Wed Feb 11, 2015 4:57 pm

Bramdeisroberts wrote:It's good to see that some managerial heads are starting to roll over this.

Very little of this is Beverly Scott's fault. We tore down two open deck elevated structures, and replaced them with these recycled railroad lines, which are open to the weather. We built another lengthy extension on another such line which was even more exposed. The one underground line we built is fraught with its own problems and includes a 10 mph curve. Even the 1927 Dorchester Extension and 1952 Revere Extension are exposed in places. All of this cost billions, and none of it happened under the leadership currently in place! The clock was ticking, the snow bomb just exploded!

Poor planning leads to poorer performance.

Those who do not learn from the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them.
Gerry. STM/BSRA

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Re: MBTA GM Beverly Scott Resigns

Postby jaymac » Wed Feb 11, 2015 5:49 pm

If you think back to the pre-World-Series-winning Red Sox, the standard front-office response to even predictably bad results was to fire the manager, hire a new manager, fire that manager, and rinse and repeat, but without stopping.
The new Governor and the new Secretary of Transportation will now have to square the circle of improving not just transit but transportation after stating that the transportation budget would be cut.
"A white SUV with a roof antenna just might not be a company van."
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Re: MBTA GM Beverly Scott Resigns

Postby TomNelligan » Wed Feb 11, 2015 6:06 pm

Beverly Scott probably decided to get the hell out of this mess when she figured out that she was going to get blamed for all of the over-promising and under-funding perpetuated by the previous governor's administration and the Democratic power brokers in the legislature who have ignored the MBTA's funding needs for years. I'm sure that a new GM will see to it that the Red and Orange Line equipment fleets are replaced before the next mega-storm hits us in a few days. Typical Massachusetts politics.
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Re: MBTA GM Beverly Scott Resigns

Postby BowdoinStation » Wed Feb 11, 2015 6:54 pm

I cannot see how Beverly Scott can be blamed for all the transit issues caused by the recent storms. Sadly for a transit system that is so bloated in payroll, it seems that somewhere along the line, (sort of speak), little to no capital was invested in the infrastructure. Expanding the system, while letting the rest of the system falter in maintenance is poor management, and that was done years and years before Beverly Scott arrived.

All these 'band-aids' put on the Orange Line cars, which never had a midlife rebuild, or the Red Line cars, with the 1500's and 1600's looking at 50 years old, and the what is now old commuter rail equipment, was eventually going to catch up with the public. All the cracks have now appeared. It's too bad that politics and patronage have to get in the way of the management and operation of a transit system. Where's that MBTA Blue Line Type 1, 0500, with the big snow blower when you need it ?
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Re: MBTA GM Beverly Scott Resigns

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Feb 12, 2015 7:35 am

The fact that Rich Davey wouldn't even finish out his term as Transportation Secretary...and now this...suggests that 1) there's dissention in the ranks at MassDOT, and 2) they probably knew it would only take a moderate-to-bad winter for all the chickens to come home to roost on the system's fragility, and exit strategies needed to be in order.

Now...I don't know if they took one look at what Baker's transition team was cooking and decided they didn't like what they saw going into winter, or the near-term future just looked that bleak on its own and it was every man for himself. But if there wasn't severe dysfunction being foretold by Davey's departure last fall, it certainly has erupted now. It'll be a test of Baker's crisis-management to stabilize the personnel situation quickly and do the PR penance (and keep at it, because no one-off statement is ever going to reassure riders now).

But Massachusetts politics are what they are: House Speaker Bob DeLeo is still the most powerful politician in the state, and brand new Senate Prez. Stanley Rosenberg the second-most powerful. The Governor is #3. Same as it ever was. The T doesn't get funded without a spending bill in the House, and it was the absolute power DeLeo wields over the chamber that slashed back Gov. Patrick's ambitious transportation bill to the point where every big initiative had a shortfall no amount of magic pixie dust could cover. There's only so much arm-twisting the Executive branch can do before the Legislative leadership makes an example out of some signature initiative put before them to reaffirm who's really boss. In that sense it doesn't really matter if Baker ends up being a 'pothole fixer'-type Governor who wants to concentrate on infrastructure state-of-repair, or simply doesn't give a crap about any of it. Just like it didn't matter that Patrick was a (quixotically so) dreamer about transit expansion and MassDOT reform who (erratically and incompletely) tried to rally some resources. The buck starts and stops at Mr. Speaker's desk, and he feels no pressure because power is so absolutely consolidated at the top that fear-and-fealty are absolute in the caucus. I'm not even sure a fourth consecutive indicted Speaker (DeL's already skirted one potentially thorny ethics investigation, so that's a bet I'm willing to wager on) is going to change that. We've come to expect this as the default state of affairs, and no legislator in either chamber is under any voter pressure to not blindly hand 100% of their power over to a singular individual who'll be corrupted by it absolutely. The structural issues with fixing the T unfortunately...go a whole lot deeper than the T. They end point is the same as it is with fixing anything the state government touches...the many-decades dysfunctional statewide balance of power.
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Re: MBTA GM Beverly Scott Resigns

Postby jbvb » Thu Feb 12, 2015 8:54 am

I don't know the T's MoW fleet like others do, but I have the impression that for maybe 30 or more years their snowstorm strategy has been "run trains often enough and they'll blow it/push it out of the way/pack it down". This has a low variable cost: just the operators and a couple of gangs to clear critical switches when the snow melters can't keep up. But, as has been demonstrated this February, it only works when storms aren't too big and there are warm, sunny intervals between them. And it exposes the equipment you need to carry passengers to the worst of the weather. I expect they don't even budget to break up a 6-car set for these runs, which exposes all the more equipment to the snow.

Ms. Scott inherited this. There are any number of tools the T could have bought to actually clear the line; pretty much all of them require a large gang, slow, careful operation and 3rd rail power being off. But nobody could make them a priority in the face of unsafe bridges, ancient power cables, spongy car floors etc.
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Re: MBTA GM Beverly Scott Resigns

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Feb 12, 2015 9:50 am

jbvb wrote:I don't know the T's MoW fleet like others do, but I have the impression that for maybe 30 or more years their snowstorm strategy has been "run trains often enough and they'll blow it/push it out of the way/pack it down". This has a low variable cost: just the operators and a couple of gangs to clear critical switches when the snow melters can't keep up. But, as has been demonstrated this February, it only works when storms aren't too big and there are warm, sunny intervals between them. And it exposes the equipment you need to carry passengers to the worst of the weather. I expect they don't even budget to break up a 6-car set for these runs, which exposes all the more equipment to the snow.

Ms. Scott inherited this. There are any number of tools the T could have bought to actually clear the line; pretty much all of them require a large gang, slow, careful operation and 3rd rail power being off. But nobody could make them a priority in the face of unsafe bridges, ancient power cables, spongy car floors etc.


Well...that probably is good enough. But you need a non-revenue fleet to take that punishment. And they don't have that anymore.

-- The 01400's have dead propulsion and haven't left their parking spot in Cabot Yard in years.
-- The Orange Line 01100's that were kept for close to a decade on Orange and Red work duty are a quarter-century gone.
-- The 0600's were too shot to keep a small fleet on Blue work duty. The Type 3 snowplows finally hit the point
-- The Watertown PCC's and the dual panto/pole Green Line wire that let them roam the system have been gone 21 years now.
-- All 4 Boeing work cars have shot propulsion and are basically no good without a cumbersome semi-dead tow from a Type 7, and the green MoW Boeing is permanently dead. There will be no work car replacements unless every last option on the Type 7 rebuild contract gets tapped out and they have the parts and repaired wreck ends to re-mate to evaluate a full replacement work fleet.


It was always S.O.P. to keep some old cars handy for 'dirty work' or convert into specialty cars. Until the last couple decades. Unfortunately the pending orders don't leave a lot of great options for addressing that. For one, because the 3 heavy rail lines will all be 100% AC motors on the revenue fleets. Meaning parts supply for keeping a few DC motor Hawkers around Wellington isn't going to be there. Red might be able to milk the considerably fresher 01700's for awhile after all they're done in revenue service at conclusion of the option orders on the new cars, but that's not going to be a forever thing either.

They may indeed have to bite the bullet and outfit themselves with a real work car fleet. If not electric, then maybe a small fleet of 2 per line of more miniature diesel locomotives/gensets like that sole Cabot Yard specimen that can do the more punishing labor.
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Re: MBTA GM Beverly Scott Resigns

Postby Bramdeisroberts » Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:10 am

jbvb wrote:Ms. Scott inherited this. There are any number of tools the T could have bought to actually clear the line; pretty much all of them require a large gang, slow, careful operation and 3rd rail power being off. But nobody could make them a priority in the face of unsafe bridges, ancient power cables, spongy car floors etc.


I have a hard time believing that an organization that can afford to pay its "surface operators" *cough* bus drivers *cough* $30+ per hour PLUS pension can't find a million or two to buy a rotary plow for each of the heavy rail lines.

It's all a matter of priorities, and the T is still run as if its chief priority is something decidedly different than providing good, reliable transit service. You know, "don't kill the job" and all.

The state sees the state of the T, with the transportation building's well-earned reputation as a dumping ground for administrative deadwood and a place where good engineering talent goes to die, all while "union-first" management style leaves the maintenance payroll packed with people doing the bare minimum because they can, while the carmen and bus drivers are better paid than the college educated project managers!(not to mention city cops, firefighters, nurses, etc!) With all that being the case, it's no surprise that people in the State House are hesitant to flush even more money down the toilet when the T comes around with their palms out.

So the unions dig their heels in to protect the jobs, and the hamstrung, mostly inept management is forced to cut maintenance budgets, etc to keep afloat. The service obviously suffers even more, and the state and the taxpayers have so far seen this as good reason to give the T even less money. And so, the vicious cycle has continued and we ended up where we are today.

For things to improve, both sides will need to give some, the state by allowing a more appropriate, stable, and long-lasting funding scheme, and the T/MassDOT by bringing forward a thinking competence to the leadership culture while reigning in the union to bring payroll, benefits back to the realm of sanity.
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Re: MBTA GM Beverly Scott Resigns

Postby Adams_Umass_Boston » Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:28 am

As others have said in this thread.
I assume she said F this and walked. I am sure two years in and seeing that the State House was never going to properly fund the T, she was like enough.

Whatever happened, I am sure it will all leak out.
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Re: MBTA GM Beverly Scott Resigns

Postby NRGeep » Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:30 am

Charlie Baker was the author of the plan to saddle the MBTA with autocentric debt from the BIg Dig while working in the Weld administration.

How's that working out? :(
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