The leaders of New York City's largest subway union have told train operators to slow down to 10 mph as they enter a station, sparking the ire of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which says slowing service would be an "illegal job action."
The Transit Workers Union Local 100 describes the call for slower driving as the best way to stop 12-9s, the term for hitting a person on the tracks.
A flyer it recently distributed to drivers read in part:
Preventing a 12-9, and saving yourself the emotional trauma and potential loss of income that go with it, is worth a few extra minutes on your trip.
Last year, subway trains hit about three people each week, killing a third of them. Subway operators consider themselves lucky if they go five years without hitting someone who has fallen, jumped, or been pushed onto the tracks, an often traumatizing event.
According to the Post, the MTA accused the Union of using the slow down as a show of strength before heading into upcoming contract discussions.
But an MTA spokesperson said the 10 mph policy could create even more dangerous conditions: Slower service means fewer trains, so platforms and trains would be more crowded, possibly leading to more people being knocked onto the tracks.
"There are simply more effective ways" to prevent 12-9s, the spokesperson said.
Yesterday, two people were hit by trains at the same station, in separate incidents. One was a 35-year-old man who was killed by a 6 train after falling between cars; he had been using the space to defecate, the NY Post reported.
The MTA says it has seen no signs of drivers slowing down before entering stations.
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