Safer Subways Report Finds Severe Maintenance Flaws In NYCs Subway System

A 14-year-old fell off the platform after the rotted wooden rubbing board at the edge of the platform gave way beneath him, launching him into the path of an incoming train. Fortunately, he pulled himself to safety just in time.

A senior citizen was sitting in her vehicle when a piece of the rail from the elevated subway tracks plunged 30 feet and slammed into the roof of her car. The rail shattered her windshield, missing her head by centimeters.

Another teen, 17 years old, had his shoe slip between the train and the platform. He successfully wrested his foot out of the gap before he was dragged.

After these three subway accident victims contacted Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) to complain about their near misses in the subways, he and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer in complied report surveying 91 subway stations in four boroughs. The report, “Safer Subways”, concluded that close to 65% had severe safety hazards. Of the 15 subway lines analyzed, the report produced more than 300 photos of hazards.

Sixty-three percent of the stations inspected had a significant safety hazard, the report found, including cracks in platforms and stairwells, missing sections of platform edges, loose ceiling panels, and eroding cement. The study was conducted over the past two months.

At Levine & Slavit, we receive many inquiries from people who have been injured in the subways, may from some of the conditions referred to in the “Safer Subways” report. One of the issues that often comes up is whether the New York City Transit Authority either actually knew or should have known of the defective or dangerous condition complained of long enough for the TA to do something about it, ie. repair, warn.

Many times the answer to that question depends upon the accuracy and veracity of records kept by the TA concerning its inspection and maintenance of its subway stations and system. It would be very interesting to compare the findings of the “Safer Subways” report to the TA’s records to see if the hazardous conditions found in the report have been noted in the TA’s records.

Are you surprised about the state of the subways? Do you think that the “Safer Subways” report found dangerous conditions that the TA’s records failed to note? We welcome your comments.

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