NY MTA Criticized for Considering Anti-Suicide Platform Barriers

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Paris Metro Platform with Glass Barrier. (Getty Images)

(Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) Should New York subway platforms get barriers to protect people from falling onto the tracks or littering on them?

The Daily News reported yesterday that the MTA is seeking proposals from third parties to build sliding-door barriers like those already in place in some stations in London, Paris and Tokyo. Today, the MTA is taking heat for the idea.

Kevin Ortiz of the MTA told the Daily News, "We are very early in the process of looking at the possibility of installing platform doors that would go a long way toward enhancing passenger safety and station appearance."

Today, one State Senator is criticizing the idea in a sharply worded statement and letter to MTA Chairman Jay Walder. Senator Diane Savino points out, a mere ninety passengers out of the system's 1.6 billion annual riders fall onto the tracks. Only .00005% of the subway riding public.

“Much to my surprise the MTA found the notion [of platform barriers] intriguing.  To even contemplate this nonsense is self-evidently a waste of time, effort, energy and yes - money; money the MTA does not have.  The cost to install the barriers would be astronomical. The cost to maintain the doors in good operating condition would be even higher,” Savino said.

“Last year eight express bus and eight  local bus routes where eliminated or reduced from my district along with the M train downtown extension into Bensonhurst and Dyker Heights, restoration of those routes should be the first discussion instead of spending additional monies on some harebrained notion like this,” she continued.

The MTA agrees with at least one point: there is no money for the barriers right now. The MTA told Transportation Nation today via email, "We have no money in our budget for platform edge doors and no intent of spending money on them."

That doesn't rule out a possibility mentioned in the Daily News report: funding the proposal through advertising on the barriers. That's something Savino seems to support. She suggests a similar idea in her statement and has criticized the MTA in the past with calls for more ad funded initiatives generally.

The barriers could potentially save the MTA money by reducint lawsuits from people who fall in the track as well.

New Yorkers, what do you think? Can you picture your station with a new sliding-door barrier?