BOSTON (CBS) — News of new trains coming to replace ones dating back to the 1970’s has MBTA commuters dreaming of a better ride.
“They’re old,” said passenger Alex Smith. “Hopefully, I pay enough taxes, so we should get some new stuff.”READ MORE: Man Secretly Buys Ice Cream For Everyone In Line At Nanabette's In Woburn
The MBTA board unanimously passed the contract in a Monday afternoon meeting. The overhaul comes with a price tag of nearly $280 million and expands on an existing deal adding as many as 134 new red line cars. That’s in addition to the hundreds of red and orange line cars the T had already purchased.
They’ll start rolling down our tracks starting in 2019, with the entire red and orange line fleets replaced by 2024.
“Our estimation is that this new purchase of the red line vehicles will enable us to increase capacity by 50 percent. What that means for a rider, is that rather than waiting four or five minutes for a red line car…you’ll be waiting around three minutes,” said MBTA Chief Administrator Brian Shortsleeve.READ MORE: Massachusetts State House Remains Closed To Public Weeks After COVID Restrictions Lifted
The new cars also mean jobs in Massachusetts. The contract is with a company based in China that just opened a new factory in Springfield, MA, where the cars are set to be built.
The news comes as Keolis, the company that runs the Commuter Rail for the MBTA, reports four times as many trains were cancelled this fall than in the fall of 2015.
“We are working actively with Keolis every single day to improve performance. The most important way that we will do that is through increasing the equipment available. So we’re working with Keolis on the availability of coaches and locomotives, and as we get more…in the fleet, the performance should improve,” said Shortsleeve.MORE NEWS: Gillette Stadium Mass COVID Vaccination Site Closes