According to recent records released by the MTA, 42 people died in collisions with a subway train and 5 others died after falling on the tracks or being electrified by the third rail. These numbers are very similar to those recorded during the same period a year earlier with 48 people dying in NYC subway accidents. Among the causes of the collision, 16 of them were suicides compared to 10 for the same period of the previous year. The report of the MTA also indicates that 8 people fell from crossing between cars compared to 6 during the same period of 2020 however they did not mention if these accidents resulted in deaths or injuries.
Should subway stations be safer and equipped with safety barriers?
These recent data from the MTA do not include several shoving incidents occurring during last fall and winter with the last one resulting in the death of Michelle Go. Michelle Go was waiting for a train at the Time Square station when a deranged man pushed her in front of the train. The recent death of Michelle Go might have been prevented if the New York subway was equipped with protective barriers or platform screen doors.
In some big cities like Paris, Tokyo or Hong Kong, subways stations have been retrofitted with platform screen doors preventing people from falling on the tracks. The idea was already in the air in 2017 when the MTA announced a pilot platform door project at the Third Avenue station on the L line however the pilot project was postponed to an unknown date.
The MTA so far has been very reluctant at the idea of retrofitting stations with platform screen doors saying that it was too complex and too expensive. However after Michelle Go’s deaths a task force called “track trespass” was created to explore options to make the New York subway platforms safer for New Yorkers. (read more in the New York Post)