Train crews in New York City are taking social distancing into their own hands.
Train operator Seth Rosenberg, a union shop steward, started taping off the seats closest to his operating cab inside a G train car.
"When I put the tape up, I operated with peace of mind for the first time since I got back to work," Rosenberg said.
Rosenberg said this has been happening on trains since last Friday.
Even with a door separating riders from operators and conductors, there is still air flowing throughout the entire train car.
“Someone could sit literally right behind where the train operator and conductor is, less than a foot away from the wall," Rosenberg said. "I can tell you, you can smell their perfume, you can smell if they’re eating something."
The idea is similar to the MTA's decision to block off the area around bus drivers' seats with chains and plastic dividers to maintain six feet of distance with riders.
Rosenberg said other train crews want something similar, whether cordoning off the entire car, or at least the area surrounding their cab. For now, they have also been doing it themselves.
"They have to do something to give us adequate social distance," Rosenberg said. "Something’s got to be done.”
The MTA, however, feels this unauthorized move put riders at greater risk by taking away more of their space.
"Our train operators and conductors work in enclosed cabs with a physical barrier between them and other people on the trains," MTA spokesman Tim Minton said. "What this operator did was unauthorized and compromised customer safety. It reduced available space in that car for essential workers who were exposed to the risk of unnecessary crowding.”
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