Stranded Metro Riders Sue New York MTA for Better Emergency Response

Last winter, subway riders were stuck on a New York City train overnight. Now some have filed a lawsuit against the MTA for its poor handling of the situation, highlighting the need for emergency planning in public transit agencies.
January 1, 2012, 7am PST | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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The riders are suing for their poor treatment and the lax response of the MTA, hoping to help prevent similar problems from happening in the future.

According to Kate Hings of Transportation Nation: "Twenty-two stranded straphangers are named as plaintiffs in the suit, which was to be filed on Tuesday in Queens County Supreme Court. They were left without heat, food or water when the train got stuck in several feet of snow in Queens, near JFK Airport, the day after Christmas in 2010."

Eric Jaffe in The Atlantic Cities writes: "At about 8 a.m. the next morning the train began to move, but any hopes of a swift ride into the city were dashed when the passengers were told to get off at the next station - also an outdoor station. They waited for another train on a platform covered in several feet of snow. The M.T.A. had sent no blankets or emergency medical supplies to the station despite a full night to deliberate on what measures to take to address the situation. Two trains filled with passengers passed the group before a third stopped to pick them up, roughly 45 minutes after they had been unloaded onto the platform."

The lawsuit alleges that despite knowing many of these details the M.T.A. "'refused to agree to develop a policy to prevent this disaster from happening again.' Instead, when the passengers subsequently told the M.T.A. what happened, the agency 'insisted that it did nothing wrong and that the passengers being trapped was an act of god outside the defendant's control.' Finally, earlier this month, a city transit official admitted that the agency up and 'forgot about that train.'"

The lawsuit, (PDF) which contains some shocking details, is available from Transportation Nation.

Thanks to Nate Berg

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Published on Friday, December 30, 2011 in Transportation Nation
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