Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority | MBTA

Client: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) | Boston, MA

The Challenge

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), as a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, operates the fifth largest commuter rail in the nation and serves an average of 1.3 Million daily weekday passengers and 300,000 weekend daily count. The Authority maintains a 270-person Transit Police Department, which patrols 145 Transit Stations within five core subway/bus lines, and responds to incidents, having complete jurisdiction among 175 Cities and Towns throughout the Commonwealth.

In the Spring of 2016, the Transit Police Department implemented a strategic patrol plan to align police patrols with ridership patterns and deploy more resources during periods associated with heightened criminal activity.  The strategic patrol plan proved to be highly effective and resulted in significant benefits in the form of a 31% reduction in certain crimes and reduced police overtime by 26%. The police department, however, sought to make even more significant strides by finding innovative ways to reduce operating expenses.

At the time, the Transit Police Emergency Dispatch Center was staffed with highly skilled Transit Police officers that performed the duties of Telecommunicators. The MBTA and Transit Police leadership desired to replace the police officers with qualified and experienced emergency dispatchers, thus freeing up 15 MBTA Police officers for system-wide duty.

Our Approach

The MBTA hired IXP to provide a managed services solution whereby IXP provides trained, qualified, and accredited emergency telecommunicators to operate the Transit Police dispatch center on a 24/7 basis. This solution provides substantial cost savings, integrated levels of service, and financial predictability and provides a net increase of police officers back onto the system. Under this solution, IXP provides the following:

  • Recruitment, testing, and local hiring of Communications Center staff;
  • Trained and qualified telecommunicators to handle incoming emergency and non-emergency calls and to dispatch appropriate police resources based on measured workload metrics;
  • Staffing for all front window lobby walk-ins to the police department;
  • Establishing and conducting training that exceeds state requirements and industry standards;
  • Cross-training of all Telecommunicators as emergency call-takers and police dispatchers;
  • Development, in collaboration with Transit Police officials, of written policies and procedures for efficient and effective operations of the Communications Center;
  • Day-to-day management of the 24/7/365 operation;
  • Service level metrics are included within the contract to ensure that emergency calls are answered and dispatched within industry standards; and
  • Quality Assurance program and a continuing education program to maintain the highest service levels to the community.

The Solution

IXP provides a solution to the MBTA that delivers considerable cost savings for operating its emergency communications center. IXP now provides trained and certified staff on a 24/7 basis allowing skilled police officers to return to patrol functions and increasing the number of officers on the system. This allows scheduled police staffing levels to remain stable regardless of staffing in the communications center. A fixed-cost contract provides the MBTA with long-term visibility for budgeting and planning purposes.

The benefits the Transit Authority has received from our Managed Services solution are:

  • Financial predictability with more than $5.3 million in cost savings over five years in operating the Transit Police Communications center;
  • Professional telecommunicators to staff the Emergency Communications Center, including Front Lobby window walk-ups;
  • 15 MBTA Police Officers were freed from communications tasks and returned to system-wide duty, saving additional money on recruitment, training, and salary costs;
  • Reduced long-term retirement and pension costs by not hiring MBTA personnel for dispatch in future years.