a spy in the house of love

author alexandra bracken

14 Oct

Interesting Tidbits from the IAMA NYC Transit Subway Conductor Thread

- “Sick passenger is code for “dead customer ON the train”. Often times it actually IS a sick passenger though - sick usually refers to some kind of bodily injury, rather than someone puking or passing out, and the delays are mainly from the MTA doing an investigation to cover their asses when that customer eventually files a lawsuit.”

- “‘Police investigation’ is the code for a suicide by train. Service will be disrupted for about a half hour, usually. I’ve seen it mess up things for as long as 3 hours though.”

- There were 136 suicides last year (approximately 2/week), and that figure includes accidental deaths

- You ARE allowed to ride the 6 train past the last stop (Brooklyn Bridge) to see the City Hall ghost station, and the conductors aren’t supposed to kick you off.  “There is a legitimate reason for this. Bleecker St still doesn’t have an underpass for the uptown platform, so passengers transferring from the F to the 6 and who want to go uptown are gonna have to either stay on the train, or do a crossover at Canal St or Brooklyn Bridge, which is likely gonna result in them boarding the same uptown 6 train they were already on.”

- If somebody faints or has a heart attack: “For the love of god DO NOT pull the emergency brake. Doing so is going to KILL the customer, not save him. Now we not only have a sick customer, we have a sick customer who is stuck halfway between stations where EMS can’t reach him.”

- “The only time the emergency brake should EVER be pulled is if a customer is in danger of being injured/killed by the moving train (their tie is stuck in the door, etc), or if a parent and child get separated due to the closing doors.”

- If you fall into the tracks: “The best thing you can do is run as far down the platform as you can (in the opposite direction from where the train enters the station) and wave your arms frantically to get the train operator and passenger’s attention. Believe me, the passengers WILL be doing the exact same thing, as nobody wants to see you get run over and their train get delayed. If you can get to the far end of the platform, it gives the train more room to stop, and there is a ladder at the end of each platform where you can climb back up – do NOT try to climb up from where you are. So many people have been killed trying to jump back up rather than getting away from the entrance end of the station.” 

And also: “Do NOT trust the pits between the tracks —- they are often right next to the third rail which can be just as dangerous (and note that the wooden planks are not designed to hold a human’s weight - they are there to protect the energized rail from drips and weather) and the train operator is less likely to see you if you’re in there. And don’t duck under the train, because most stations do not have enough clearance for the average human. And do NOT jump down onto the tracks to try to save someone else. The best thing you can do is run on the platform towards the tunnel where the train enters so you can get the operator’s attention sooner. Waving your arms over the tracks will tell the operator to stop immediately.”

- Yes, there are some conductors who make $100,000+ a year. However, they are at top pay, work 6 days a week, 12 hours a day and have no life outside of work. The average senior conductor makes about $65K a year.

- On deciding when to close the car doors: “Minimum of 10 seconds per station (on the newer trains, wait until it’s done playing the next stop announcement). If there are still people boarding after that, keep waiting. However, you don’t have to wait for stragglers. If I see last second runners (people who weren’t already on the platform before the train arrived), it’s at my discretion if I hold the doors for them, or see if I can can close down before they’re able to grab the doors. There are some stations where if I wait for everyone, I will literally NEVER be able to close down, so I try to close at the first opportunity where I can do it without catching anyone in the doors.”

(Source: reddit.com)