(AP) — Transit officials will install safety barriers in three New York City subway stations in a pilot program aimed at preventing tragedies like the death of a woman who was pushed in front of a train last month, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said Thursday.
The barriers, similar to those in place in other subway systems around the world, will be tested at three stations where it is feasible to install them, MTA officials said in a news release. A survey of the 472 stations in the city’s aging subway system found that just 41 of them could be retrofitted with the barriers today, the MTA said.
Transit officials said installing the barriers at the three stations probably won’t be completed until 2024.
Other measures recommended by a task force that studied what the MTA calls track intrusions include suicide prevention messaging and beefed-up efforts to clear homeless encampments from stations.
MTA officials said there were 68 fatalities on city subway tracks in 2021. While attention is often focused on homicides like the death of Michelle Go, who was pushed in front of a train in the Times Square station, the majority of deaths in the system are suicides and others are accidents.
“The MTA wants to deal with this problem of track intrusions in all of its complexity,” MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said. “It’s not just the violent assault we saw last month, which was a horrific version of this problem, but also everyday incidents of people retrieving cell phones or trying to cross between platforms. It’s a huge risk to safety and the day-to-day operation of the system.”