BROOKLINE, Mass. Dec 31 2016
Transit police were called to Reservoir Station in Brookline on Wednesday because of a dispute between private and unionized employees.
According to sources, MBTA employees were upset with a crew from the private-security company Brinks, which recently took over responsibility for collecting fare-box cash.
Pictures obtained by WCVB showed a Penske rental truck parked at the station while Brinks workers loaded mobile-vaulting units in the back.
Mobile-vaulting units are pieces of equipment used to transport cash from the MBTA stations to the agency’s centralized money room for counting.
Sources said the unionized workers were shocked to see a rental truck used for the task and began taking pictures.
The Brinks crews felt harassed and called police.
According to an agency response to a 2012 audit, “vaulted fares are transported to the MBTA money room via armored truck.”
In October, the MBTA approved a two-year contract with Brinks that is expected to cut in half the cost of collecting cash.
In an email to WCVB, MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo wrote: “Our security consultant on money room matters confirms that (it) is common across the cash collection industry to use box trucks for this specific activity. Armored trucks are used for making multiple stops along a route while box trucks are sometimes used for just one or two pick ups before returning to the main cash collection facility. This work is being performed by highly trained professionals at the widely respected Brink's cash collection company. “
Pesaturo also said that under the prior system, MBTA employees also used box trucks, accompanied by an armed guard, to make such collections.
Pesaturo said the incident at the station was under investigation and MBTA employees who posted pictures online of the box truck could be punished for violating the agency’s social media policy.
Earlier this year, the MBTA also privatized some security operations inside the money room.
In June, a private security guard was caught sleeping on the job.