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NYC Subway Train Operators Told by Union to Slow Down After Push Deaths

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Subway train operators are being told to slow down trains, but the MTA says it's counterproductive to safety. Ida Siegal reports. (Published Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013)

    New York City subway trains are entering stations more slowly after the transit workers union put out advisory signs instructing drivers to take greater caution — but the transit authority says the move throws off subway schedules and is counterproductive to straphanger safety.

    The union says having trains enter stations more slowly helps train operators stop if someone suddenly jumps or gets pushed onto the tracks. 

    According to the union, the normal speed for trains to enter the station is 30 or 40 miles per hour. But after the union released advisories over the weekend, trains are entering stations closer to 10 miles per hour. 

    The safety initiative comes in the wake of two recent incidents in which people were killed by trains after being pushed onto the tracks — one in Queens, in what is being investigated as a hate crime, and another in midtown Manhattan.

    "They should come in slowly, at least tap on the brakes and ease their way in," said one straphanger. "Coming into the station, it's safety first." 

    But the city's Metropolitan Transit Authority doesn't approve of the slowdown, saying it throws off the existing schedules and that there are other ways to make the system safer. 

    "Some of the actions they are recommending, if implemented, could result in even more hazardous conditions due to overcrowding on platforms and on board trains," an MTA spokesman said in a statement.

    When it comes to affecting their own schedules, straphangers seem reluctant to support the union's initiative.

    "I think they should get me to work on time. So if you slow down and I'm late, I've got a problem with that," said another subway rider.