New York City Subway Safety Options Discussed

January 30, 2013

Weeks after two New York City subway passengers were pushed to their deaths in separate incidents, officials on Monday discussed boosting safety efforts in the nation’s busiest subway system.

An awareness campaign was presented at the monthly board meeting of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in Manhattan. Measures include announcements in English and other languages warning riders not to stand at platform edges.

Fifty-five people died last year after they were pushed, fell or jumped onto the tracks, up from 47 in 2011, according to the MTA. The numbers are small compared to the 1.6 billion subway rides taken each year.

Former New York Gov. David Paterson, who is on the MTA board, noted that most subway fatalities are suicides and are difficult to prevent.

Still, given the recent deaths, the MTA is being urged to try a more elaborate and expensive option: glass safety barriers. Although such barriers could be a difficult addition to a system that that dates back 108 years.

Subway systems from Shanghai and Dubai to Paris have installed safety doors over the last three decades.

Another possibility would be alarms that sound when someone crosses the yellow danger line.

Last month, two men were killed when they were propelled into the path of a train by a stranger. In another case a young woman stumbled onto the tracks and was hit by a train early on New Year’s Day.

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