A number of speed restrictions are in place on the Red Line to prepare for upcoming construction, the T said, and data shows it has more overall “slow time” than the Orange Line.
MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said three slow zones, two southbound and one northbound, were implemented on the Red Line after a track inspection last month, but data from the advocacy group TransitMatters tells a different story.
According to that data, there are at least four Red Line slow zones on the South Side, some of which date back to June. I six more are located on the north sideincluding one that goes all the way back to January.
“The data will show that there have been segments of significant delay for some time, regardless of how the T defines a slow zone,” said TransitMatters CEO Jarred Johnson. “I don’t agree with their definition of slow zones.
“I’d like to see T go tell drivers on the platform that they’re not actually experiencing a slow zone because the train is going 16 mph, when the speed limit is 30 mph.”
Johnson was referring to Ta’s explanation Tuesday of what constitutes a slow zone on the Orange Line, where restrictions remain for a month after a shutdown.
The T said lower speeds of 18 to 25 mph are considered normal in certain areas of the Orange Line, which Johnson said he found “kind of patronizing.”
For safety reasons, Pesaturo said the T decided to implement a 10 mph speed limit on the stretch between Central and Harvard stations on the Red Line after a regularly scheduled track inspection.
Two other 10 mph slow zones were implemented last month, from Savin Hill to Fields Corner and Davis to Porter in the south, he said.
“The T’s engineering and maintenance department is working on planning the appropriate time to perform rail replacement activities,” Pesaturo said. “The MBTA apologizes for the temporary negative impact on travel times and appreciates the patience of our riders.”
Speed limits will remain in place until the track is completed, but no date has been set for construction to begin. Drivers will be notified of service changes, he said.
According to TransitMatters data, slow zones were also detected northbound from North Quincy to JFK/UMass, Fields Corner to Savin Hill, Savin Hill to JFK/UMass, Downtown Crossing to Park Street and Park Street to Charles/MGH.
Data shows additional southbound slow zones between Alewife to Davis, Park Street to Downtown Crossing and Downtown Crossing to South Station.
Overall “slow time” on the Red Line this week outpaced the Orange Line, at 11.92 minutes compared to 8.17 minutes in the North, according to the data.
Johnson said slow zones on the Red Line are exacerbated by poor traffic management — pulling trains out of service and bringing them back — leading to uncertainty about when trains will arrive and, in turn, longer travel times.
“The T has a credibility problem and is not good at communicating with drivers what’s going on,” Johnson said. “People are frustrated. They want to know what’s taking so long.”