Statement of ex-MBTA parking director sheds light on parking contractor’s shortcomings

Last week Commonwealth Magazine reported that the MBTA’s Director of Parking, David Friend, has stepped down from his position, effective December 1. Before submitting his resignation, Friend distributed a lengthy statement which detailed the ongoing issues that the agency is having with its parking contractor, Republic Parking System, and calling out MBTA management for its refusal to recognize and correct the problems. According to the statement, Friend resigned involuntarily from his position due to the T’s Director of Revenue, Evan Rowe, saying that it was in their mutual interest as well as the best interest of the MBTA for him to do so.

Friend initially joined the agency in October 2016 to oversee parking operations managed by the private contractor, LAZ Parking. However, after the MBTA abruptly ended their contract with the vendor due to allegations of employee theft, which ended in a $4.5 million settlement, Republic Parking Systems took over the contract. In his statement Friend says, The selection of Republic was intended to put the memories of the employee theft and lack of customer focus associated with the previous parking operator in the past, and introduce a more efficient contracting approach based on performance and results,” going on to explain, “Instead, the contracting relationship between the MBTA and Republic has become another example of the MBTA’s failure to realize the promise of outsourcing – in this case with the MBTA system-wide parking contract – because of mistakes in decision-making and implementation.”

In his statement, Friend gives the contractor an “F+” saying that since they took over parking operations they have been unable to live up to the minimal standards established by MBTA staff. He also claims that Rowe is in part to blame, since he spearheaded the contract with Republic, and has been slow to call out the company on their shortcomings. Friend says those shortcomings include staffing issues, poor cost controls, inefficient use of equipment and a failure to detail how they intend to fulfill their contractual obligations to the MBTA.

Friend’s statement concludes, “It is ‘in the best interest of the authority’ that this information be known. I deserved better – and so do the taxpayers of the Commonwealth.”

You can read the full story here.

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