Gov. Charlie Baker has pressed MBTA officials to tell riders when they can expect faster service on the Orange Line, which remains slow nearly a month after the shutdown.
Baker told reporters Monday that while the T lifted speed limits in a number of areas covered during the 30-day shutdown, others were not lifted “as quickly as they said they would.”
“My view at this point is that they owe the public an answer when people can expect those speed limits to be lifted,” he said.
According to the latest slow zone tracking data from TransitMattersthe trip between Oak Grove and North Station, which took 13-14 minutes before the shutdown, now takes more than 22 minutes.
MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said Tuesday that the T is in the process of raising slow zones between Assembly to Wellington and Assembly to Sullivan, and “speed limits in those zones are currently being raised.”
Speed limits vary at different points on the Orange Line, and in some areas speeds as low as 18 to 25 mph are considered normal, Pesaturo said.
The T has lifted speed limits including the Ruggles crossover, which is now 40 mph; Tufts Curves is at 18 mph; and the Downtown Crossing to State has its design speed of 25 mph.
In other slow zones, North Station is currently at 10 mph but will be increased to 40 mph; Community College to Sullivan Flyover is 25 mph; The Sullivan Flyover to Sullivan Station is at 40 mph; The Sullivan station above the Sullivan Flyover is currently at 10 mph, but will be raised to 40 mph; and the Sullivan Flyover to Community College and Community College to North Station is at 10 mph and will be raised to 40 mph, he said.
During a Senate hearing in Boston last Friday, MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said he could not give a specific date when the slow zones would be phased out, saying it depends on ground conditions and the assessment of field inspectors.
He said he had failed to announce that railway engineers had identified additional work they wanted to complete before winter, which required additional speed limits between North Station and Assembly Square.
“If I put a date on it, it doesn’t prioritize safety,” Poftak said. “It puts pressure on the field staff to make a decision that is not based on the safest conditions on the ground.”