According to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, on a daily basis, more than 5.5 million people rely upon New York City’s subway system. As these millions of commuters board a train at one of the city’s 468 stations and travel upon the systems extensive 656 miles of track, few are aware of the potential dangers they face.
In addition to subway stations, trains, cars and tracks; there are also elevators, stairs, escalators, tunnels, lighting systems and signal systems that must be regularly inspected and maintained. Given the sheer size and scope of New York City’s subway system, it’s perhaps not surprising that repairs at some stations have lagged behind. However, a recent report by the Citizens Budget Commission shines a spotlight on just how widespread the problem has become.
The report details a backlog of unfulfilled repairs dating back to the 1980s. In fact 33, or roughly seven percent, of the city’s subway stations currently require repairs on more than 50 percent of their structural components. These deficiencies range from broken lights and peeling paint to broken staircases and outdated ventilation systems. 15 of these stations are in Queens, while 10 are in Brooklyn and all continue to be open and service millions of commuters each year.
The report blasted the MTA for failing to improve the speed and efficiency with which it addresses unsafe station conditions and estimates “it’ll take more than half a century…to fix all the problems.” While the average New York City subway commuter is probably aware that many stations are in need of repair, the problems are likely much worse and widespread than most previously believed.
Individuals who suffer injuries due to a fall down a broken subway stairwell or exposure to toxic fumes while at an underground station may choose to pursue legal action.
Source: New York Daily News, “Fixing all the problems at MTA subway stations will take 52 YEARS, says report,” Rich Schapiro and Dan Rivoli, Sept. 2, 2015