After the MTA released a track trespassing task force report on track intrusion and solutions nearly two years ago, the MTA has installed the subway’s first platform barriers at the 191 St Station. The effort is all part of the MTA’s new safety pilot program. Additional platform barriers will be placed at West 8 St-NY Aquarium Station, Clark St Station, and a fourth that has yet to be determined.
The MTA intends to use these pilot barriers as a basis for whether the entire project is scalable. Moreover, the MTA is still monitoring additional safety barriers in the center of platforms that were installed last year across three subway stations for effectiveness.
“Safety in the subway system is something that customers consistently cite as a core driver of their satisfaction and is a top priority for us at New York City Transit,” said New York City Transit President Richard Davey. “This pilot program will help us determine the most effective ways to keep subway customers safe and focused on getting to their destination, while also addressing track intrusion.”
Installation of the first uptown and downtown barriers at 191 St Station was competed between Friday, January 19th and Saturday, January 20th.
Following various tragic incidents in the past few years and a 20% increase in track intrusions between 2019 and 2021, “It’s critical that we find ways to reduce the number of riders who fall or are pushed onto subway tracks,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “So I applaud the MTA for this pilot, which is a relatively quick and easy way to add protection on the platform. I am excited to hear feedback from riders at 191st Street on how the railings work in practice.”
The barriers are strategically located at the edge of the platform, behind the yellow warning strip. All barrier placements will still allow customers to freely enter and exit the train without obstructing the doors.
MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber expressed his excitement for the new safety measure, though still in its “experimental phase.” If the subway platform barriers prove to be an effective way of minimizing track intrusions without impeding passenger circulation, the barriers will be “[deployed] widely.”