BOSTON (CBS) — The MBTA has quietly agreed to waive $839,000 of the $1.7 million in penalties leveled against the company that operates the Commuter Rail system for poor performance in 2015.

Keolis, the Commuter Rail operator, blamed the weather for its sub-par performance in the winter of 2015. Thousands of commuters were left stranded or running late during that brutal winter.

But State Sen. Jamie Eldridge told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe he doesn’t want to hear excuses from Keolis.

“While I recognize it was a very unique storm, the reality is that our Commuter Rail system run by Keolis has been under-performing since Keolis first took the contract,” he said.

The MBTA said there’s a stipulation in the contract that allows them to waive penalties when there are unforeseeable circumstances.

“I was very surprised there was even a provision for the Baker administration to forgive those fines,” Sen. Eldridge said.

Keolis spokesperson Leslie Aun told WBZ-TV the company was penalized $6.6 million for the fiscal year period that included February and March 2015.

The company already paid penalties for chronically late trains, but that the company been forgiven for other violations, including dirty trains. The spokesperson said they did not receive any relief on time performance-related fines.

The company says the forgiven fines regarded maintenance issues, and that the MBTA agreed to waive them amid evidence that maintenance workers were pulled from their regular jobs to help shovel off tracks and shorten delays.

Sen. Eldridge believes Keolis needs to be held accountable, and doesn’t understand why transit officials made the agreement.

“Keolis promised to provide a certain level of service, and they didn’t provide it,” he said. “They should pay those fines, that’s the contract.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports

Comments (2)
  1. Nancy says:

    I am flatly disgusted. The MBTA tried to fine me three times to park my car (I fought it) when I couldn’t see the parking numbers, and then tried to make me pay full price for the commuter train when the Redline was not running; then, they increase our fares in the 2016 summer to get to work in the city…and, now this? Are you kidding me? Even in the best weather, I will have long delays on the Redline waiting to go home-broken down subway cars, switch delays and subway trains that are packed with people do not make for a nice commute into Boston. What a shame – I’m embarrassed for Baker and the MBTA – complete lack of management and oversight.

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