TITLE OF BILL:
to amend the public authorities law, in relation to requiring the New
York city transit authority to have at least one conductor on board
To require at least one
conductor on board any passenger subway train with two or
more cars operated by the New York City Transit Authority, in order to
maintain an acceptable standard of safety for passengers and reduce
potential increased liability that could arise.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
To add a new section (1205-b) to the Public Authorities Law, to prohibit
the operation of a subway passenger train without a conductor. A
"conductor" shall be defined as the person other than the train
operator/engineer who assist in the operation of the train and is
primarily charged with opening and closing the doors and all other
aspects of the operation of the train. The new provisions require a
conductor on all subway trains which carry passengers and have two or
more cars attached.
The subway system is the heart and soul of transportation for New York
City, where millions of commuters, residents and tourists alike, depend
on the NYCTA for their daily transportation to and from work, and their
Presently, the subway system, 648 miles of tracks running through four
boroughs, includes 469 stations, many with curved platforms where each
day, millions of passengers board and exit from trains, some as long as
10 cars, every day.
Each passenger train, as per rule 97(r) NYCTA rules and regulations
currently requires a conductor on board. The conductor is part of a two
person team which operates the train. The other person is the engineer
or motorman who drives the train from station to station. The conductor
opens and closes the doors, oversees the safe entering and detraining of
passengers, and the safe departure of trains from the station. TA rule
requires conductors to observe the doors of their trains until the
trains have reached the end of the station platform or have traveled at
least three car lengths. In stations with curved platforms the observing
eyes of the conductor is even more important.
The NYCTA is in the process of implementing One Person Train Operation
(OPTO), ostensibly to save money, but there are substantial evidence
that OPTO could instead end up as a "penny wise pound foolish"
experiment that will only eliminate jobs and compromise the safety of
those who must ride the trains.
In reviewing the NYCTA's proposal, the TA's own System Safety
officials expressed serious concerns about several hazards that could
not be satisfactorily resolved to meet acceptable safety standards.
(a) Absence of the conductor to observe the door could result in
passenger drag, space case or between car injury or fatality.
(b) Absence of a conductor would result in an unattended train. As in
the case of a brake activation where the motorman is required to leave
the train and inspect the tracks. That would mean no crew members on
board which could cause a sense of panic to passengers.
(c) The motorman could become distracted in the operation of the train
while making announcements resulting in serious accidents or fatality.
In fact, the TA's own System Safety Assessment analysis recommended
that, "the most effective method for controlling all identified
hazards to an acceptable level is to continue to provide a conductor
on each train and not to introduce OPTO." In addition, the TA's System
Safety Assessment analysis also highlighted that greater, and of
course more costly service delays could result if the motorman is
incapacitated and with no other employee present on board to report
the problem and take command of the train.
Further, the State's Public Transportation Safety Board (PTSB), in its
own review of OPTO has concluded that, "....the conductor plays an
important part in the train's operation, and that OPTO as proposed, is
unacceptable from a passenger safety and security standpoint." The
PTSB goes on to conclude that, "in effect, the lack of, or absence of
a conductor on all passenger trains create the possibility of having a
single point failure (the motorman) which could result in a
catastrophe. Conductors provide essential train operation supervision
and are essential during emergency situations. Additionally train and
passenger security has always been a function of the conductor and
their presence is also viewed as a deterrent to crime." Indeed, the
fact is that the TA promotes the presence of the conductor as an
integral part of its safety program and encourages passengers to ride
in the cars where the conductors are located, especially during
off-peak and night hours.
NYCTA claims that implementation of OPTO would save money, but legal
action against the state resulting from injuries and fatalities caused
by the absence of the conductor could negate any savings and become
A reduction of service which has an adverse effect on public safety,
endangering the lives of passengers while also resulting in further
loss of jobs to NYC is irresponsible and should not be allowed.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
None to New York State.
This act shall take effect immediately.