The following story made us cringe.
“I am reporting a traumatic incident that occurred on Wednesday, Feb. 21, at 10:30 a.m.,” wrote Sharon of Melrose.
“My 7-year-old, 5-year-old, and 8-month-old daughters, 74-year-old mother, and I were preparing to board a Green Line trolley leaving Government Center heading toward North Station. Since we and many other families were traveling at this time to attend Disney on Ice, we were following other families boarding the trolley.
“My 7-year-old boarded, and I was immediately behind her bending down to lift my 8-month-old [who was in a stroller] onto the trolley. To my horror, the driver closed the door on me and my 8-month-old. [My 5-year-old daughter and my mother were immediately behind me].
“Being in a state of shock that a door was closing on me, and not wanting my 8-month-old to be hurt by the closing door, I backed up. The door then closed with my 7-year-old on the train. I panicked. I banged on the door and screamed that my daughter was on the train — but to no avail. The train proceeded on.
“Thanks to an off-duty police officer from Maine who was on the trolley with my daughter, as well as the MBTA inspector at Government Center who alerted the driver to wait at Haymarket, I was reunited with my daughter in a relatively short amount of time.
“According to the MBTA’s Customer Bill of Rights, ‘safety is [its] top priority.’ Safety was not on this employee’s mind,” Sharon wrote. “The drivers of buses and trolleys are the T’s customer service representatives. If this person was not paying attention to the people boarding the trolley, or felt that he or she was there long enough and wanted to go, then this person should not have this job. Either way, he or she was negligent. Since this is not the first incident that I’ve seen of doors closing on a person with a child, I’m starting to wonder if safety really is the T’s ‘top priority.’ “
The T responded quickly when told of this late Friday and promised to investigate. The inspector who helped reunite the family talked with Green Line managers about the incident, and they were tracking down the trolley’s operator, who will be disciplined if it is determined that rules were violated.
T policy is that drivers are to close train doors only if they are clear of anyone. “This woman’s report is very troubling,” T spokesman Joe Pesaturo said. “We’re thankful that the mother and daughter were safely reunited.”
“The MBTA does not condone the operator’s actions as you described in your e-mail, and I can offer no excuse for the operator’s performance,” Alfred A. Ricko, supervisor of the Green Line, wrote to Sharon in an e-mail sent Friday afternoon. “I am also a father and can understand the anxiety you surely experienced as a result of being separated from your child.”
We called Sharon last week and asked about her daughter. “She was horrified at the time, but now she can’t wait to tell all her friends,” she said. But on the return trip home, given a choice between the Orange and Green lines, she said her daughter chose the Orange.
This is a story that has to be followed up.
I have never seen anything like this happen but I have seen drivers closing the doors at Government Center when passengers are still trying to board the train. Perhaps the T should install a closed circuit monitor so drivers can see exactly what is happening on the platform so something like this can not happen again.