‘I wish I had known earlier’: T chief says Green Line extension is so defective that key part will need to be fixed - The Boston Globe

The $2.3 billion Green Line extension is riddled with so many defects — far more than previously disclosed — that workers will now have to reposition the rails along much of the 4.7-mile stretch, MBTA general manager Phillip Eng announced Thursday, marking the most stunning setback yet for the multibillion-dollar project that fully opened less than one year ago.

MBTA’s ‘aggressive’ year-long bus driver hiring campaign failed. Black and Hispanic riders are paying the price. - The Boston Globe

The MBTA’s failure to retain and attract bus drivers is worsening racial inequity in Boston, new data shows, as service cuts reduce residents’ access to jobs. Longer wait times are forcing those who can afford it into cars, worsening congestion and emissions, and those who can’t into lost wages, time away from family, and missed opportunities.

Three T derailments in three days. Lots of questions. A curious delay. - The Boston Globe

The MBTA and its state oversight agency, the Department of Public Utilities, drew up statements about the derailments to provide the public with details about the incidents, but they never saw the light of day after they were sent to the governor’s office for review. The derailments — relatively unserious mishaps with no passengers involved and no injuries — would not be publicly confirmed until the T’s top official faced questions from reporters in person four days later.

Eye-popping cost of MBTA’s new Quincy bus garage outpaces similar projects in US and Canada - The Boston Globe

The price tag for the new 120-bus maintenance and storage facility, scheduled to open in 2024, exceeds the budgets of similar projects completed or underway in other US and Canadian cities, a Globe review found. And the projected cost raises questions about whether the cash-strapped agency will be able to upgrade its remaining garages to achieve its goal of switching from fossil fuel to battery-electric buses, a key component of the state’s climate plans.

Massachusetts needs at least 750,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2030. We are nowhere close. - The Boston Globe

Back in 2014, state officials calculated the number of gas-burning cars they would need to get off the roads and replace with cleaner, greener options to meet climate goals. By 2020, they said, electric cars in the state needed to total more than 169,000. By 2025, that number had to rise to 300,000. But reality has fallen wildly short of the dream. As of last month, just 51,431 electric passenger vehicles were registered in Massachusetts, less than a quarter of the target. Only about 31,000 of those were fully electric. The remainder, plug-in hybrids, burn gas once they deplete their batteries. But reality has fallen wildly short of the dream. As of last month, just 51,431 electric passenger vehicles were registered in Massachusetts, less than a quarter of the target. Only about 31,000 o

Boston is getting more propane school buses to combat pollution. They aren’t the cleanest option. - The Boston Globe

The school buses are part of a $2 million round of Massachusetts grant funding provided by the US Environmental Protection Agency announced this week. The funding aims to cut pollution by getting rid of diesel-powered vehicles. The state said it will spend $740,324 on five electric school buses for Springfield contractor First Student Inc., and the 12 buses bound for Boston will use propane, a fossil fuel.

This video shows people tumbling down a malfunctioning MBTA escalator. It wasn’t the first time that happened. - The Boston Globe

In September, an ascending escalator at Back Bay Station careened backward at high speed, sending a pile of riders tumbling to the bottom and then to the hospital. It was a shocking, bloody scene, horrified witnesses said, a freak accident, it seemed. But it was not the first time an MBTA escalator had malfunctioned in this way. A Globe review of court documents and news archives found three nearly identical incidents since the mid-1990s, and a fourth alleged in a lawsuit.

After 85 years of building Miami’s Black middle class, longshoremen face biggest crisis yet

Since its founding 85 years ago, the local longshoremen’s union has provided a dependable avenue to the middle class for Black Miamians willing do the mostly invisible, grueling work that makes PortMiami run. Over the decades, the group has weathered segregation and automation, growing to nearly 800 members strong. Now facing a once-in-a-century pandemic, the longshoremen hope the ships return soon so they can get back to work.

At PortMiami, cruise ships spew pollution instead of plugging into the grid. Why?

A single cruise ship docked at PortMiami — the busiest cruise port in the world — spews about 48 metric tons of greenhouse gases into the air during a 10-hour visit — equal to the emissions of about five houses in an entire year, according to EPA data. In a pre-pandemic year, cruise ships at the port emitted as much greenhouse gas as almost 7,000 houses annually — a bigger city than Pinecrest. The county has known about this problem for more than a decade but has done nothing to address it.

Stranded at sea: Crew members weigh COVID-19 trauma as they decide whether to return

Gan Sungaralingum is part of a growing number of cruise ship workers who say they will not be returning to their posts when cruises resume. Thousands, like Sungaralingum, suffered several months stranded at sea without pay after the industry shut down in mid-March amid COVID-19 outbreaks on several ships. The virus hit crew members particularly hard as cruise companies struggled to contain outbreaks even long after passengers departed. At least 1,779 crew members contracted COVID-19 and at least 29 died from the virus, according to a Miami Herald investigation.

Injured cruise ship worker ‘forgotten’ after seven months in South Florida hotels

An injured Royal Caribbean Group crew member, Paúl Córdova, 48, has been living in South Florida hotels since January. For 95 days, he has repeatedly asked the Miami-based company to send him home to Peru, where his wife and two teenage children are waiting for him. Though five repatriation flights for crew members have left since April, the company either did not respond to his pleas or said his repatriation was impossible at the time. Córdova has become yet another casualty of the cruise industry’s chaotic journey through the COVID-19 pandemic. His name could be added to a list of more than 100,000 cruise ship workers who have spent months stranded away from their families.

More cruise ships are leaving U.S. waters — and CDC coronavirus reporting requirements

After the cruise industry shut down in mid-March, dozens of ships could be spotted lingering off the Miami Beach coast or moving in and out of PortMiami each day. More than five months later, as cruises remain canceled, it’s rare to see even one cruise ship floating off the coast. Many have left U.S. waters — and with that, the scrutiny of the country’s top healthy agency, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

No information. No way off. 100,000 crew members remain in cruise ship limbo for months.

In the avenue of ocean that stretches south from Miami to Cuba and northeast to the Bahamas, dozens of cruise ships sail back and forth. Every so often, they come into Florida ports to refuel and restock. Otherwise, they wait. The crew members on board — many no longer receiving paychecks — wait for news about when they will return home and see their families again. Two months after the cruise industry shut down amid repeated COVID-19 outbreaks on ships, more than 100,000 crew members remain trapped at sea with little reliable information about what will happen to them.

Royal Caribbean falsely blames CDC for keeping crew trapped on its ships, agency says

In announcements on several Royal Caribbean ships, captains told crew members that a story published by the Miami Herald on Thursday was untrue, according to audio recordings obtained by the Miami Herald. That story said that cruise executives were refusing to sign agreements with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that would allow crew members to disembark and be repatriated. In an interview Friday, an official from the CDC reiterated that it is allowing crew members to leave, provided cruise companies agree to CDC rules.

Greg Mortimer cruise doctor pressured to edit coronavirus health form, safety officer fired

As Aurora Expeditions’ Greg Mortimer cruise ship approached Uruguay in late March seeking permission to disembark sick passengers, the cruise company encouraged the ship’s doctor to downplay the situation on board in his health declaration form, according to internal emails obtained by the Miami Herald. Now that all the passengers have left, the company has fired the top safety officer after he raised concerns about taking the ship on a three-week journey to Europe before repatriating crew.
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