Protesters at the pre-Pops Spectacular presser Tuesday. (Karyn Regal/WBZ NewsRadio)
BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — While officials briefed the press on safety preparations for the Fourth of July festivities on the Esplanade, a group of demonstrators stood nearby, demanding better service on the MBTA.
Gov. Charlie Baker was greeted by the handful of silent protesters from the Massachusetts Democratic Party. They held signs reading "Charlie, where's your Charlie Card?" and "Ride the T." They want faster improvements on the transit system—and for Gov. Baker to actually use the T every once in a while.
"The governor has promised a world-class transportation system, and what we have today is a transportation system that is unreliable," protester Jeremy Comeau told WBZ NewsRadio's Karyn Regal. "For people who want to come to events just like the Boston Pops on the 3rd and 4th of July, they're not even sure they'll get there on time sometimes."
The MBTA has been in hot water since a derailment last month crippled Red Line service that may not be restored until Labor Day.
On top of the T troubles, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles is under scrutiny. The Massachusetts man charged in a crash that killed seven motorcyclists in New Hampshire was revealed to have a long history of driving offenses, which the RMV did not heed. These revelations led to RMV head Erin Deveney resigning last week.
But Gov. Baker insisted those issues don't shake his trust in Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack.
The governor did not acknowledge the protesters, but spoke with Regal after the press conference about the state of the T.
"There's a lot of work to be done there, and we all know it," Gov. Baker said. "My job is to work with the folks at the T to do everything we can to deliver a reliable and dependable service, and that's what the $8 billion capital plan we have is all about."
Those $8 billion will be spent across the system over the next five years. In addition, Baker has asked the legislature for an extra $50 million to be used to help speed up T upgrades.
Baker also referred to what happened at the RMV as "a complete failure."
When asked if he still had faith in Secretary Pollack, he said he did.
"Her job as I said to her and as she said yesterday, with the RMV, is to deal with the current issues that were raised by the preliminary report—which, by the way, was developed by her office—and to act on them. And the same goes for the issues associated with implementing that capital plan at the T."
WBZ NewsRadio's Karyn Regal (@Karynregal) reports