A gruesome discovery by transit workers last week — an arm inside a subway tunnel — underscored a troubling trend: a growing number of people ending up on the tracks.
MTA statistics obtained by THE CITY show at least 720 instances of a “person on the roadbed” this year — including one Sunday morning in which police said a man survived after being shoved onto the tracks at Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
That’s nearly as many as the 781 cases in all of 2019 and almost 200 more than five years ago — despite a steep pandemic-driven decline in ridership and the suspension of overnight passenger service.
Some transit workers and homeless advocates believe the overnight shutdown could be helping driving the roadbed incidents.
“When the system shuts down, [homeless New Yorkers] need someplace to go,” Eddie Muniz, a subway conductor, told THE CITY. “They can’t stay on the platforms, they can’t stay on the trains, so they go into the tunnels.”
In addition, the MTA has recorded more than 180 collisions between trains and people this year — creeping past the 182 incidents in all of 2015.
Sarah Feinberg, interim president of New York City Transit, said the figures point to problems that extend beyond the subway system.
“Sadly, these numbers continue to point to the mental health and housing crises we are experiencing in this city,” Feinberg told THE CITY.
The grim figures follow a week in which an E train fatally struck a 54-year-old man Friday inside a tunnel near the Woodhaven Boulevard station on the Queen Boulevard line. Meanwhile, a 40-year-old woman survived being pushed onto the tracks and passed over by two cars of a No. 5 train at 14th Street-Union Square during the Thursday morning rush.