The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority fired a trolley operator Wednesday after investigators found the employee’s “inattentiveness” and “insufficient rest” to blame for the Green Line collision at Boylston Street Station, officials said.
The MBTA full-time employee was operating his first run of a Green Line trolley on the morning of Nov. 29 when his trolley collided into the rear of a stopped trolley at Boylston at 11:48 a.m., said MBTA Acting General Manager Jonathan Davis.
“This individual failed to follow MBTA rules and policies regarding fitness for duty, and because of his failure he caused a collision that resulted in injuries to multiple customers, employees and damage to MBTA property of more than $500,000,” Davis said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.
Davis said the employee, who was not identified by the MBTA, notified investigators that he had worked at a second job that day from 12 a.m. to 8 a.m. before reporting for work at the MBTA at 11 a.m.
Following the crash, the MBTA announced Friday that if inattentiveness played a part in the collision, the employee would not operate an MBTA vehicle again, Davis said.
Although no passengers were seriously injured, 30 people reported mild neck or back pain and Boston EMS transported several passengers, officials told The Daily Free Press.
Because of the employee’s disregard for customer and employee safety, he was determined to be solely responsible for the accident and was fired, Davis said.
“They [operators] obviously are aware that they need to be fit for duty when they come in,” Davis said.
Any crime-related charges are being investigated and handled by the Boston Police Department, MBTA officials confirmed at the press conference.
Davis said he could not confirm that the crash resulted specifically from the employee falling asleep while operating the T.
“There is some self-responsibility from all of our employees to make sure they are fit to perform their duties that they’re assigned,” Davis said.
The MBTA provides an aggressive fatigue awareness program, and the operator had gone through the program twice this year, he added.
He also said the employee was aware he needed to be fit to perform his duties to operate the trolley that morning, but violated that policy.
Davis said the employee had never shared any information about a second job prior to the accident, although an MBTA employee is neither prohibited to hold a second job nor required to notify the MBTA about such a position.
Jessie Ragnil, a 25-year-old Children’s Hospital employee taking an outbound train at Kenmore Station on Wednesday, said the MBTA had to fire the employee.
“I feel bad that he had to work two jobs, but they had to do something,” Ragnil said. “It’s a tough situation.”
Fifty-year-old Ron Kerrigan, who was also going outbound at Kenmore, said although he does not take the T often, he feels safe on them.
“There’s been [crashes] lately, but compared to how many trips they make, it’s not a lot,” he said.