The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority: Then and now

For the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), the past two years have been eventful, to say the least. Severe snowstorms in February 2015 crippled the agency's commuter-rail network, leaving passengers stranded and frustrated. A subsequent audit of the agency exposed a host of deep-seated problems, including rapidly growing operating costs, poor customer service and a general lack of accountability and leadership.

The MBTA has come a long way since then, agency officials and observers say. For example, MBTA leaders have taken several measures to drive driven down the agency's ballooning expenses. Plus, on-time performance for the agency's commuter-rail system has improved considerably.

"They've certainly made a lot of progress," says Charles Chieppo, a former Harvard Kennedy School fellow who's written extensively about the agency. "I'd say realistically, it's about as much progress as they could make given the starting point."

To learn more about the MBTA's reform efforts over the last two years, check out my feature in our February issue. Feel free to share your take on the agency's progress in the comments section below. Do you think MBTA execs have done a good job addressing the agency's issues? Anything they could do better? And: Are those problems unique to the MBTA? Or are they common issues in the passenger-rail realm? I'd be interested to hear readers' thoughts on this.

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