Bill S1058-2011

Prohibits the operation of N.Y. city transit authority subways or trains without a conductor on board

Prohibits the operation of NYC transit authority subways or trains without at least one conductor on board; requires a conductor on any subway or train operated by such authority whenever the subway or train has more than two cars attached to the engine.

Details

Actions

  • Jan 4, 2012: REFERRED TO TRANSPORTATION
  • Jan 5, 2011: REFERRED TO TRANSPORTATION

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S1058

TITLE OF BILL:

An act to amend the public authorities law, in relation to requiring the New York city transit authority to have at least one conductor on board

PURPOSE:

To require at least one conductor on board any passenger subway train with two or more cars operated by the New York City Transit Authority, in order to maintain an acceptable standard of safety for passengers and reduce potential increased liability that could arise.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:

To add a new section (1205-b) to the Public Authorities Law, to prohibit the operation of a subway passenger train without a conductor. A "conductor" shall be defined as the person other than the train operator/engineer who assist in the operation of the train and is primarily charged with opening and closing the doors and all other aspects of the operation of the train. The new provisions require a conductor on all subway trains which carry passengers and have two or more cars attached.

JUSTIFICATION:

The subway system is the heart and soul of transportation for New York City, where millions of commuters, residents and tourists alike, depend on the NYCTA for their daily transportation to and from work, and their daily activities.

Presently, the subway system, 648 miles of tracks running through four boroughs, includes 469 stations, many with curved platforms where each day, millions of passengers board and exit from trains, some as long as 10 cars, every day.

Each passenger train, as per rule 97(r) NYCTA rules and regulations currently requires a conductor on board. The conductor is part of a two person team which operates the train. The other person is the engineer or motorman who drives the train from station to station. The conductor opens and closes the doors, oversees the safe entering and detraining of passengers, and the safe departure of trains from the station. TA rule requires conductors to observe the doors of their trains until the trains have reached the end of the station platform or have traveled at least three car lengths. In stations with curved platforms the observing eyes of the conductor is even more important.

The NYCTA is in the process of implementing One Person Train Operation (OPTO), ostensibly to save money, but there are substantial evidence that OPTO could instead end up as a "penny wise pound foolish" experiment that will only eliminate jobs and compromise the safety of those who must ride the trains.

In reviewing the NYCTA's proposal, the TA's own System Safety officials expressed serious concerns about several hazards that could not be satisfactorily resolved to meet acceptable safety standards. They include:

(a) Absence of the conductor to observe the door could result in passenger drag, space case or between car injury or fatality.

(b) Absence of a conductor would result in an unattended train. As in the case of a brake activation where the motorman is required to leave the train and inspect the tracks. That would mean no crew members on board which could cause a sense of panic to passengers.

(c) The motorman could become distracted in the operation of the train while making announcements resulting in serious accidents or fatality.

In fact, the TA's own System Safety Assessment analysis recommended that, "the most effective method for controlling all identified hazards to an acceptable level is to continue to provide a conductor on each train and not to introduce OPTO." In addition, the TA's System Safety Assessment analysis also highlighted that greater, and of course more costly service delays could result if the motorman is incapacitated and with no other employee present on board to report the problem and take command of the train.

Further, the State's Public Transportation Safety Board (PTSB), in its own review of OPTO has concluded that, "....the conductor plays an important part in the train's operation, and that OPTO as proposed, is unacceptable from a passenger safety and security standpoint." The PTSB goes on to conclude that, "in effect, the lack of, or absence of a conductor on all passenger trains create the possibility of having a single point failure (the motorman) which could result in a catastrophe. Conductors provide essential train operation supervision and are essential during emergency situations. Additionally train and passenger security has always been a function of the conductor and their presence is also viewed as a deterrent to crime." Indeed, the fact is that the TA promotes the presence of the conductor as an integral part of its safety program and encourages passengers to ride in the cars where the conductors are located, especially during off-peak and night hours.

NYCTA claims that implementation of OPTO would save money, but legal action against the state resulting from injuries and fatalities caused by the absence of the conductor could negate any savings and become more costly.

A reduction of service which has an adverse effect on public safety, endangering the lives of passengers while also resulting in further loss of jobs to NYC is irresponsible and should not be allowed.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

2009-2010: S.7509A/A.3559A 2007-2008: A.4073 2006-2007: A.3805 2005-2006: A.3805 2003-2004: A.5135

2001-2002: A.3661 1999-2000: A.1019 1997-1998: A.2440 1995-1996: A.5713

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

None to New York State.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This act shall take effect immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 1058 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 5, 2011 ___________
Introduced by Sen. PARKER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Transportation AN ACT to amend the public authorities law, in relation to requiring the New York city transit authority to have at least one conductor on board THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The legislature finds and declares that, the New York city transit authority, through its operation of the New York city subway system, the largest public transit system in the world, provides the primary means of commuting for many millions of New York residents and visitors every day of the week. With an estimated average of over 10,000 passengers loaded onto each train during rush hours, the presence of trained New York city transit authority personnel, other than the engi- neer, on each train is necessary and should always be required to ensure improved safety for passengers during emergencies, which may occur while in subway tunnels or traveling over bridges. The legislature further finds and declares that the tragic events of September 11, 2001, which launched the war of terror against America, has tremendously heightened the need to significantly increase security and safety for commuters on New York city subway trains. Also, the recent conviction of Zarein Ahmedzay, who was caught buying explosives and admitted to having planned an attack on the New York city subway system makes it imperative that we recognize the role of conductors and other authority personnel assigned on passenger trains as first respon- ders, and the front line defense to potentially save lives and limit casualties in the event of a terrorist attack. S 2. The public authorities law is amended by adding a new section 1205-b to read as follows:
S 1205-B. CONDUCTOR REQUIRED. ANY SUBWAY OR TRAIN OPERATED BY THE AUTHORITY FOR THE PURPOSE OF TRANSPORTING PASSENGERS SHALL HAVE AT LEAST ONE CONDUCTOR ON BOARD. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, THE TERM "CONDUCTOR" SHALL MEAN THE PERSON OTHER THAN THE DRIVER, ENGINEER OR MOTORMAN PRIMARILY CHARGED WITH ALL ASPECTS OF THE OPERATION OF THE RAILROAD LOCOMOTIVE, SUBWAY OR TRAIN, WHO SHALL ASSIST IN THE OPERATION OF THE TRAIN AND BE PRIMARILY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE OPENING AND CLOSING OF THE DOORS AND OTHER SAFETY ASPECTS OF THE TRAIN. A CONDUCTOR SHALL BE REQUIRED ON ANY SUBWAY OR TRAIN OPERATED BY THE AUTHORITY WHENEVER THE SUBWAY OR TRAIN HAS MORE THAN TWO CARS ATTACHED TO THE ENGINE THEREOF. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.

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