MTA implements platform decals to enhance conductor safety
New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has initiated a trial run of platform decals near the conductor’s window at the 125th Street and Lexington Avenue station.
This move aims to curb incidents of physical attacks and verbal abuse directed towards conductors by riders. By creating a designated space for conductors as the train arrives at the station, MTA officials and union representatives hope to provide a greater sense of security for these frontline workers.
Demetrius Crichlow, the senior vice president of subway operations for New York City Transit, explained the rationale behind the initiative, stating, “The thought process was, if we could create a distance for conductors as the train enters the station, where customers do not stand, it gives a level of comfort to the conductor.”
During a visit by NY1, several individuals were observed standing on the designated decal area. However, Crichlow reported that a majority of conductors who participated in the pilot program confirmed that riders respected the signage. While conductors will still interact with passengers for customer service purposes and be required to lower their window, the decals serve as a visual reminder to remain vigilant and prepared for potential incidents.
Recent data from the MTA reveals an alarming increase in assaults on conductors at the 125th Street and Lexington Avenue station, prompting the implementation of these measures. The concept for the platform decals originated from a worker safety panel composed of officials from New York City Transit and union representatives.
Commuters who rely on conductors for assistance and a sense of security have expressed support for the initiative. Melvina Hasell, a regular commuter, stated, “You stand there for questions or if you need your safety. If someone is bothering you, they can call for help.” Another commuter, Mike Benyah, added, “I think it’s something that is very helpful. Sometimes I need information from the conductor. It’s a safety precaution that I think everyone needs, and it makes riding on the subway very safe.”
John Chiarello, the safety director for Transport Workers Union Local 100, hopes that the decals will dissuade riders from standing too close to the conductors. While acknowledging that a decal alone cannot prevent all incidents, he emphasized its role in raising awareness and establishing clear boundaries, stating, “I think it’s gonna make customers aware that this position should not be crossed. ‘Can it stop anybody?’ Obviously not, because it’s only a decal on the floor, but the indications I’m getting from the field are that people are acknowledging or seeing this particular off-limits area.”
In addition to the platform decals, the MTA and union officials are actively exploring other safety measures. This includes acquiring buses designed to maintain physical separation between bus drivers and passengers, as well as implementing deescalation training programs to further ensure the well-being of transit workers and riders alike.