The MBTA’s First Weekly Report Card Needs Mom’s Signature

The chronically challenged transit system is now issuing weekly evaluations.

The MBTA’s first weekly on-time performance report card shows a system that, not surprisingly, has room for serious improvement.

In order for a subway or bus line’s service to be considered satisfactory it has to operate with an on-time rate of at least 75 percent, while the commuter rail needs to run on schedule at least 90 percent of the time.

The MBTA’s first week under the new evaluation system showed the Red and Orange Lines, plus -non-key bus routes completely failed to meet the 75 percent benchmark for the system. The Blue Line, the shortest part of the subway system with the newest cars, operated on-time during peak service hours but struggled to maintain regular service at off-peak times.


Key bus and Silver Line routes operated on-time at a rate of 80 percent or higher at all times.  The Franklin, Greenbush, and Worcester Lines dragged down the Commuter Rail’s on-time performance rate, particularly during off-peak hours. A Commuter Rail train is considered late if it arrives at or departs from a station five minutes later than scheduled.

During peak times on September 21, eight of the 14 Commuter Rail lines were below the 90 percent threshold for on-time performance, the most for any day last week.


The grades on this report card are the kind that require a signature from mom and a lengthy parent teacher conference. How is the MBTA going to get into Transit University with these kinds of grades? Maybe the MBTA needs to stay after school for extra help.

The new on-time performance report card will become interactive and offer more information, like the on-time performance rate of the Green Line later this year. The Green Line recently implemented a live tracking system that is similar to the one used on the MBTA’s heavy rail systems.

The older report card system focused on monthly data and has been phased out for. The new ones will be made available on the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board’s website on a weekly basis.