The MTA Inspector General has released a new report, “An Inquiry into Whether MTA New York City Transit (NYCT) Consistently and Correctly Identifies and Reports Subway Platform-edge Safety Defects.” This audit is the result of several incidents involving a subway rider falling to the tracks after a defective rubbing board gave way under the weight of the rider. The NYCT vowed to review all rubbing boards used in hundreds of stations in the system, rating each board as being in “good,” “fair” or “poor” condition. In accordance with its standards, NYCT staff had to address any safety defect within 24 hours.
In the spring of 2008, the Office of the MTA Inspector General (OIG) commenced its own review. They found:
* Platform-level inspectors at NYCT subway stations failed to correctly identify and report platform-edge safety defects visible at 16 of 23 stations sampled by OIG.
* Out of an OIG sample of 25 comments made by platform-level inspectors reporting non-safety defects, 22 of those comments used language that actually indicated safety defects.
* Station Operations Division middle managers are not promptly resolving confusion caused by inspectors who mis-describe the condition of the platform edges.
*Different inspectors described the same platform-edge condition inconsistently.
*Only 41% of rubbing defects reported in the first eight months of 2008 were addressed within the required 60 days.
According to the report NYCT does not dispute the findings and has recently reported taking steps to impove the inspection process. The full report can be found on the OIG website.