Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Subway signal inspections faked

From the NY Post:

It’s a disaster waiting to happen.

NYC Transit supervisors falsified thousands of vital signal inspections across the subway system for years, leaving straphangers at risk for deadly collisions like the one that killed nine people in Washington, D.C., The Post has learned.

Across every line in every borough, a cabal of managers in the signal department forced maintainers to fib on the inspections by threatening them with punishment like loss of overtime, according to a sweeping investigation by the MTA Inspector General.

At least one high-level chief, Tracy Bowdwin — the MTA’s highest earning signal department supervisor at $165,000-a-year — was demoted in the fallout, and managers are still being questioned, transit sources said.

The callous practice was in response to ramped up pressure from the MTA to meet federal standards that call for railway switches and signals to be inspected monthly, sources said.

"Instead of five signals to inspect, they would give you 15. There’s no way 15 could done, but they would say, ‘You had to do it,’¤" one signal maintainer said of the overzealous bosses. "It’s like, you think your car is fine after going to the mechanic, but they never looked at it."

Signal maintainers would routinely enter false inspection into their logbooks, which managers used to write reports. In some cases, managers would write a bogus report even if a worker refused to enter the fudged data in their books.

Workers who didn’t comply lost overtime privileges or got sent to the dirtiest, most leak-infested tunnels, sources said.


Anonymous said...

Federal criminal charges should be thrown at these supervisors, suspended from their positions immediately and review their subordinates for similar charges.

We are discussing safety and well being of passengers - toss these folks in the clink, without bail or set very high!

Anonymous said...

For so many people to have conspired to risk the safety of millions of riders of MTA is shocking. Where did this start and end? Is there going to be anyone left who can inspect and repair a switch if you got rid of everyone involved?

At least for Washington DC's Metro it was a case of over-estimating the useful life of switches, not deliberating falsifying records of switch inspections.

Mayor Mike said...

Personally, I don't see the big deal. I fake being mayor daily!

PS Gotta get rid of the bottom feeders anyhow.

Anonymous said...

mere anti union propaganda. the nyc subway system has an antiquated trip system. no one is any danger except another employee put on the welfare line. don't believe the hype.

Anonymous said...

smoke and mirrors so we don't ask to see the other set of books the MTA keeps. they are laying off people, tearing out token booths, raising the fares AND they want to build the #7 to NJ? where are they going to get the money for that if they are so broke.

Anonymous said...

$165,000 per year to be incompetent and put the public at risk.

And this agency has the nerve to raise fares on the very people it will very easily put into harm's way.

Crooks. All of them. And Bloomberg is the biggest criminal of all for letting this happen.


Anonymous said...

Anon No. 5: The MTA doesn't want to run the 7 to NJ. The Mayor does. Sorry to spoil that myth.

And there are no "two sets of books", either. That was Alan Hevesi's myth. Look at where he's winding up.

Anonymous said...

It comes from top management,usually a cronyism gig.Someone with management "experience" but no transit or signal experience....... sort of like putting some rich woman who's kids attend private schools to run the d.o.e.......

Anonymous said...

The managers press the supervisors to keep maintenance numbers up and at the same time make the needed inspections. For a department that bleeds personnel(on a good day), its near impossible, so reports were fudged.
As someone else indicated, the whole signal system is defaulted to a fail-safe stop condition. No train wrecks, just stopped trains.