Trolley operator fired in Boston MBTA accident

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Administration has fired a trolley operator for his role in a subway crash that injured nearly three dozen people. An investigation of the MBTA accident concluded that the operator was solely responsible for the accident, which occurred in Boston.

The crash occurred when the trolley rear-ended another train that was stopped at a platform. After an investigation of the incident, it was found that the operator of the trolley causing the strike had just started his shift after working a graveyard shift at a second job. According to the MBTA, that violated company policy insisting that all workers get adequate rest prior to beginning their shift as a trolley operator.

Although the company’s policies do not expressly forbid working a shift at another job prior to working a trolley shift, a spokesperson for the MBTA said such measures could be adopted in the future.

The trolley worker was only a part-time employee of the organization, but he had worked in his position since 2006. Additionally, he had twice completed mandatory fatigue awareness programs offered by the organization and was in line to receive a safety award in the near future.

Although 35 passengers involved in the accident were taken to the hospital, none suffered serious injuries. Meanwhile, the transportation administration fired the trolley operator but withheld his name from any releases.

In speaking with investigators, the operator had denied falling asleep at the wheel at the time of the accident. Officials were unable to determine whether or not that was true, although fatigue is assumed to be a primary factor leading to the accident.

Source: Boston.com, “MBTA fires operator in subway trolley crash,” Bob Salsberg, Dec. 5, 2012