Monthly Pass Holders File Lawsuit Against MBTA and Keolis

Commuter rail riders fed up with winter disruptions filed a class-action suit on Customer Appreciation Day.

Image via MBCR

Image via MBCR

Monthly commuter rail pass holders have filed a class-action lawsuit against the MBTA and commuter rail operator Keolis—and on Customer Appreciation Day, of all days.

The suit alleges that the MBTA and Keolis breached their contract with monthly pass holders by providing substandard service during the months of January, February, and March, when more than 110 inches of snow walloped Boston’s aging, overwhelmed public transit system.

“This past winter presented a challenge to the MBTA and Keolis, and they failed miserably. The people of the Commonwealth pay for and deserve better,” says Robert Richardson of civil litigation firm Richardson & Cumbo, who filed the suit on behalf of monthly pass holders.

Monthly commuter rail passes cost between $75 and $362. Richardson added that the firm is investigating the viability of a class action for monthly subway LinkPass holders as well.

The announcement of the suit comes on Customer Appreciation Day, the MBTA’s “goodwill gesture” to make up for the hellish winter with free subway, bus, and commuter rail rides, a 15-percent discount off monthly passes purchased for May, and a handful of coupons, including one for a free donut from Dunkin’ Donuts.

The website dedicated to the class action reads:

This empty gesture falls well short of fair compensation for what amounted to “service” consisting of: countless cancellations and delays; constantly changing schedules falling short of a full schedule; an ineffective alert and/or notice system to keep riders informed of cancellations, delays and schedule changes; and complete indifference by the MBTA towards its customers.

Gov. Charlie Baker has accepted resignations from members of the state transportation board, including embattled chairman John Jenkins. Baker plans to install a five-person “Fiscal and Management Control Board” in its place to oversee the T.

“We are in lockstep with the Governor and his call for accountability and change within the MBTA. We too look to hold the MBTA and Keolis accountable for the unacceptable level of service they provided their paying customers this past winter,” says Richardson.