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MBTA to ban hoverboards from buses, trains, stations

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MBTA officials confirmed Thursday that soon passengers will be banned from bringing motorized rolling devices on buses, trains, and in stations.
MBTA officials confirmed Thursday that soon passengers will be banned from bringing motorized rolling devices on buses, trains, and in stations.(Elaine Thompson)

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is putting the brakes on the use and possession of hoverboards on its property.

MBTA officials confirmed Thursday that soon passengers will be banned from bringing the motorized rolling devices on buses, trains, and in stations.

Details of the ban and when it would take effect are still being worked out. But Joe Pesaturo, a spokesman for the MBTA, said in an e-mail that "for obvious safety reasons" the T will prohibit them.

"The T will develop a public information campaign around it," Pesaturo said.

The use of hoverboards, which were a popular holiday gift, has been scrutinized by local and federal officials in recent months after some of the devices caught fire and, in some cases, exploded.

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The US Consumer Product Safety Commission last week put manufacturers and retailers of the self-balancing scooters "on notice," and demanded companies adhere to strict safety protocols when selling and making hoverboards.

The regulatory agency said between Dec. 1, 2015, and Feb. 17, they had received reports of 52 hoverboard fires in 24 states.

A boy's hoverboard was likely to blame for a fire that broke out in a Chelmsford home on Monday. Firefighters in Somerville responded to a hoverboard fire in November, officials said.

The T's decision to begin implementing a policy to prohibit hoverboards on its trains and buses comes a month after New York's Metropolitan Transit Authority, or MTA, announced a similar ban.

The MTA is promoting the ban through a new advertising campaign, according to transit officials in that city.

Chicago’s Metra and Los Angeles’s Metrolink have both banned the two-wheeled motorized devices.

Hoverboard use has also been prohibited on school campuses and dormitories at many Boston-area colleges.

In January, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Boston College, Suffolk University, Brandeis University, and Emerson College joined a growing list of schools, both locally and nationally, that have forbid the use and possession of hoverboards on campus.

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Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.