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MTA Expands Public Subway Safety Campaign

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TWC News: MTA Expands Public Subway Safety Campaign
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Just weeks after two people were pushed onto subway tracks and killed, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board outlined its plans Monday to increase safety underground. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.

While incidents of people being shoved to the subway tracks are rare, 55 people were killed last year after being hit by a train. Some were suicides and others were accidents. Metropolitan Transportation Authority board members said at a Monday meeting in Midtown that they were taking the issue seriously.

The MTA has announced an with fliers, station and train announcements in four languages to make riders more aware of the dangers of standing close to the tracks.

"We also use the back of MetroCards for safety messages. Three million of each message featuring the 2012 statistics will be distributed throughout the subway system," said Paul Fleuranges, MTA's director of communications.

The agency is also investigating more expensive high-tech options like so-called intrusion technology that would alert train operators and others if someone is on the tracks or too close to the edge of the platform.

"You can tie it to an alarm system, flashing lights, things of that nature to warn people that there was somebody on the road bed or out of the safe location of the platform," said Tom Prendergast, the president of New York City Transit.

The most radical option would be putting up a barrier and doors between the platform and the tracks, like the ones on the AirTrain.

There is a pilot plan in the works to try it out at one stop on the L line. But putting that in at all 468 stations presents a series of challenges, most notably the cost.

"It's not a silver bullet, it would not solve the problem totally, but if you look at in terms of order of magnitude costs and what it would compete against in terms of other safety improvements, it's a difficult argument," Prendergast said.

The MTA is moving forward with its plan to implement more "help point" intercoms in the system, allowing passengers to call for help. Currently there are just two but officials expect to install them in 100 stations this year and next.

City Council Transportation Committee Chair James Vacca said he will hold an emergency hearing next month to push for even more answers from the MTA.

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