BOSTON (SHNS) – Ron Ester, the top safety official at the T, plans to resign after three years on the job, MBTA General Manager Phil Eng announced Tuesday.
Eng alerted employees that Ester, who has been the agency’s chief safety officer during a period of intense scrutiny on the MBTA’s safety failures and subsequent attempts by agency officials to address those issues, will leave on Aug. 30. He did not specify a reason for Ester’s departure.
Rod Brooks, who previously worked alongside Eng at the Long Island Rail Road before joining the T last month as a senior advisor for capital, operations and safety, will provide “leadership and oversight of the Safety Department while a search for Ron’s replacement is conducted,” Eng said.
After 28 years at the Chicago Transit Agency, Ester joined the MBTA in 2020. Eng praised him as “instrumental” in the T’s response to a 2019 independent report that identified numerous safety culture issues, its navigation of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its work to fix problems identified by a sweeping Federal Transit Administration safety investigation in 2022.
“I am grateful for Ron’s service to the MBTA,” Eng wrote. “He has made a real difference in the safety of our system, and he will be missed.” In a statement provided by the T, Ester said he is “proud of the work that we have done to make our system safer during my tenure, despite the many challenges that we have faced.”
“The MBTA has been underinvested in for decades, and it has taken a lot of hard work to make our system as safe as it is today,” Ester said. “I know that there is still more work to be done, but I am proud to have played a leading role in many of the improvements that have taken shape. It’s bittersweet to be stepping away from my role, but I know that the MBTA is in good hands with Phil Eng. I wish him and everyone at the T all the best in the future.”