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Riding Safely

The MTA is dedicated to doing all it can to make riding our subways, buses and trains as safe as possible.  In fact, we’re investing in new technologies and initiatives to operate our equipment more safely, and have partnered with Operation Lifesaver, the leading national organization devoted to safety education, particularly when it comes to railroad crossings.

However, safety is everyone’s responsibility – including yours.  There are simple steps you can take to avoid injury in our subway stations or on board our trains and buses. The information below contains safety tips and information that can help you do your part to ride safely and securely.


Train Safety

Whether you’re a commuter, an occasional rider, or a vehicle driver, when you see train tracks, think train.  Trains are fast and cannot stop easily.  When on station platforms, boarding or riding trains, or driving or walking across a grade crossing, always remain alert for oncoming trains.

Safety on Platforms

  • Stay away from the edge of the platform.
  • Hold children's hands or make sure they stay next to you on the platform.
  • Do not lean over the platform edge to see if a train is coming, because trains can approach from either direction.
  • Wait for the train to stop before stepping forward.
  • Keep off the tracks. NEVER go down onto the tracks, for any reason. If you drop something, tell a police officer, or train or station personnel.
  • Walk - don't run on platforms
  • Be aware of your surroundings. See someone at risk? Alert a police officer, or train or station personnel.

"Kevin and the Train" - Subway Platform Safety PSA

Watch the Gap

Watch the Gap Look for these signs on rail platforms and on trains. Please watch your step when entering and exiting the trains, and pay special attention to the gap between the train door and the station platform. When traveling with young children, be sure to hold their hands while entering or exiting the train. And always keep a safe distance from the edge of the platform. Please see HERE for more information.

Watch the Gap
Video: Gap Safety Message
Video: Gap Safety Message
 

Safety at Grade Crossings

Railroad grade crossings are a common element of traffic safety in many communities. Their lowered gates, flashing lights, and ringing bells warn of a train’s approach and they should always be regarded with caution. Trains are fast and can’t stop quickly. A train traveling at 60 mph can take up to a mile to stop.  Each year, people are killed or injured in accidents that could have been prevented if they had simply taken the extra time to look, listen and heed the warning signs.  

Wait for the gate.
Isnít your life worth the wait?
Wait for the gate.
Isn’t your life worth the wait?

YouTube Video: Grade Crossing Safety Message
 

Never walk or run around crossing gates.  Even if a train is stopped at a station, remember – trains travel in both directions and you may not see or hear an oncoming train on a second track.

Wait for the gate.
Isnít your life worth the wait?
Wait for the gate.
Isn’t your life worth the wait?
Video: Crossing Railroad Tracks Safely
Video: Crossing Railroad Tracks Safely
 

Trespassing on train tracks is not only illegal, it’s extremely dangerous. Never use train tracks as a shortcut.  Cross tracks only at designated grade crossings.

Wait for the gate.
Isnít your life worth the wait?

Don’t shortcut your life.
Trespassing on tracks is illegal,
and too often deadly.


YouTube Video: Crossing Railroad Tracks Safely
 

Subway Safety

Most subway accidents result from slips, trips, and falls on stairways when someone is in a rush. The best safety advice we can give you is: slow down when you are on the stairs, and hold the handrail.

On Platforms

Some trains are shorter (have fewer cars) when it's not rush hour because there are fewer passengers using the subway. Some short trains operate without a conductor. On those trains, the train operator opens and closes the doors, makes station announcements, and assists customers, if needed. Consider waiting at the center of the platform at these times. At most stations, there are signs that read: During Off-Hours, Trains Stop Here. If you stand near the center of the platform near the sign, you won't have to rush when the train arrives.

Stand back!

Platform Edge Safety

  • We care about your safety – don’t become a statistic! Stand back from the platform edge.
  • In 2015, there were 172 incidents involving contact with trains.  50 people died.
  • Standing on or at the yellow platform edge strip is dangerous.

Please click on the following safety message to learn more about platform edge safety.


Leave it!

Stuff happens. If you drop something, leave it!

  • NEVER go down onto the tracks, for any reason.  Your safety is more important.
  • Tell a police officer, or train or station personnel.
  • Or, use a station “Customer Assistance Intercom.”


Get Help.

Be aware of your surroundings. See someone at risk? Get help.

  • Alert a police officer, or train or station personnel
  • Or, use a station “Customer Assistance Intercom.”

Be Safe. Be Smart. Stand Back.


In Subway Cars

You risk serious injury if you ride on top of the train (surfing) or ride holding onto outside doors (skylarking). It's also against the law. Boarding between subway cars may seem like a time-saver, but it is highly dangerous. It's also dangerous to try to keep subway doors from closing when you are entering or exiting the train. They are not like elevator doors and will not reopen automatically. In addition, make sure that pocketbooks, knapsacks, clothing, packages, umbrellas, and other personal items are clear of the closing doors. When you're inside a moving train, never ride between cars or lean against doors. When you are standing, always hold on.

Using the Emergency Cord

Use the emergency cord only to prevent an accident or injury. For example, if someone gets caught between closing subway car doors and is being dragged, pull the cord. But if your train is between stations and someone aboard becomes ill, do not pull the emergency cord. The train will stop, preventing medical professionals from reaching the sick passenger. A sick person is better off if the train goes to the nearest station where police and medical services will be waiting or can be quickly summoned, without interruption.

On Escalators

Never run or walk on escalators; always hold the handrail and face forward. If you're with a child, hold hands. (It's not a good idea for small children to hold escalator handrails.)
Escalator steps are always moving and have spaces that can grab. This means you should avoid resting packages (or yourself) on the stairs. You'll also want to keep clothing and shoes away from the sides. In addition, make sure that laces on footwear are tied. When you leave an escalator, step off, rather than ride off.

On Elevators

Children don't know that they can get hurt by elevator doors. You need to keep youngsters away from them. So, either hold children's hands or, if you're using a stroller, keep children's hands inside and never use a stroller to block closing doors. Watch clothing, bags, and other personal items — they can get caught in closing doors too.

With Baby Strollers

Fold strollers so that you can carry infants on stairs or escalators. Strap your child in snugly at all other times.
When you're on the platform, keep the stroller away from the edge and apply the stroller brake. That's because platforms tilt toward the tracks to allow for drainage, and the stroller could roll onto the tracks.
Never place a stroller between closing subway car doors. Watch out for the gap between the platforms edge and train when you board. (That's always a good idea, even when you're traveling alone.) And it's better if you board in the center of the train. The conductor is usually there, making it easier to get attention in case of problem.



Bus Safety

Don't run for the bus -- that's when most customer accidents happen. Slips, trips, and falls are the most common causes of injuries. If you're at the front of the bus, please stay behind the white line. Avoid standing in the stairwell (rear door step) or leaning against the rear door. And if you're a wheelchair user, please allow the bus operator to secure your chair.

When traveling with an infant and a baby stroller, the stroller should be folded before entering the bus and should remain folded for the duration of the trip.

While you're riding, keep your head and arms inside bus windows.
When you're ready to get off, signal the bus operator two blocks before your stop so that he or she has sufficient time to stop smoothly. We also advise holding the railing when you exit the bus, especially in winter. Bus steps and sidewalks become slippery from snow. As you leave the bus, watch for cars. (This is particularly important when the bus operator has not been able to pull completely into the bus stop.) Also, avoid crossing in front of the bus after you get off.

Request a Stop
Bus customers who travel between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. can Request-a-Stop. Ask the bus operator to let you off anywhere along the route, even if it isn't a designated stop. The bus operator will comply as long as he or she thinks it's a safe location. This bus will still make all regularly scheduled stops.

Click here for more information on how to ride the buses


TIPS

Be an extra cautious pedestrian and cyclist:

Never assume the bus operator sees you.
On the street, anything from lampposts, newsstands, and double-parked vehicles can cause blind spots and/or obscure the bus operator's view.

Don't cross the street between parked cars.
When you walk between parked cars into traffic, you might not be visible to drivers. Walk defensively. Cross at the corner, when the traffic sign indicates you can go.

  • As a cyclist, you also must follow the rules of the road
  • You too are operating a moving vehicle.

Stand back as the bus gets closer.
Your natural response may be to get nearer to the curb as your bus comes into view. You are much safer moving a few steps back until the bus comes to a complete stop.
  • Stay alert as you ride
  • Always scan the road to ensure that you are aware of what other vehicles are doing on the road.



YouTube Video: MTA Pedestrian Safety Message
MTA Pedestrian Safety Message

Watch out—
don’t tune out! 
Talking, reading, texting, or wearing headphones
while walking?  Stay alert.  Don’t get hurt.



YouTube Video: MTA Cyclist Safety Message
MTA Cyclist Safety Message

Stay alert—
Don't get hurt. 
Wearing headphones, talking or reading
while cycling?  Watch out—don’t tune out!




As a general precaution, whether you're in the subway, the bus, or even in the street, appear confident. Always look as if you know where you're going, and you're better off not displaying money in public.
Officers in 12 Transportation Bureau Police districts are responsible for keeping subway stations safe. On the streets, a special police unit responds to bus crimes throughout New York City. Undercover officers travel on bus routes to stop problems as they occur. And, if you're alert and aware, you can make your subway and bus trips even more secure.

Off-Hours Waiting Areas

Avoid standing at the end of subway platforms or on an empty platform. Instead, wait in the Off-Hours Waiting Area, particularly at night. Most stations have one, generally located on the mezzanine level, near a station booth. Speak to the station agent or other NYC Transit employees (who wear bright orange vests) if you have a problem. Use a Customer assistance intercom (mounted on a platform column) to get help in a station where you're not visible to the station agent. When you speak into the Customer assistance intercom, the agent can speak with you. You can also use a public phone on the mezzanine or platform to dial 911 (the police) if you need help. This call is free. Each station booth posts the district and phone number of the NYPD unit that patrols the station. When it's not an emergency, use this number to contact the police. Electronic signs in many Off-Hours Waiting Areas indicate when a train is approaching the station. If you wait near the sign, you will have enough time to walk to the platform as the train arrives.

Customer assistance intercome sign
Customer assistance intercome - How to use image

Against Pickpockets

Stay awake. A pickpocket's easiest victim is a sleeping passenger. If you feel drowsy, it's best to get up and stand, or take another seat. When you find yourself alone in an empty subway car, move to a car that has a conductor (usually in the center of the train), a train operator (front car), or other riders. Being alert and staying in a subway car with other people are always good precautions.

Although pickpockets often target people who are alone and asleep, they know how to operate in crowds as well. That's why you should be wary of being pushed or bumped. But even when there aren't many people around you on a bus or in the subway, never keep your wallet or money in a back pocket, and keep all bags, backpacks, and pocketbooks securely closed. Overlooking these things can make you an easy target. Keep alert if you see or hear a commotion. It could be a pickpocket's trick to divert your attention. And speaking of remaining alert, be extra cautious if you use headsets. They tend to reduce your awareness.

If your pocket is picked while you're on a bus, call out to the bus operator immediately. He or she can request police assistance.

How to avoid Bag or Chain Snatching

Bag and chain snatchers are more obvious than pickpockets, but the result is the same. Following a few precautions can better protect our valuables.

MTA New York City Transit is serious about safety especially your safety. We hope you consider these messages when you ride with us and that they become standard practice for you throughout your daily trip.

Sexual Harassment

Protect yourself in the subway

Follow your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable about a person or location, remove yourself immediately from the area.

If you think you are being touched, but are not sure - assume you ARE being touched, and move.

During non-rush hours, wait for trains in the designated waiting areas.

Avoid empty subway cars.

Use subway exits where there is the most activity. That's usually the 24-hour booth entrance.

Become knowledgeable about the neighborhood around your station - which stores, restaurants, and business are open late at night.

Always know your location. You must have your exact location if you call 911.


Protect yourself when walking

Remain alert and aware of your surroundings.

Keep the volume down on your music so you can hear the surrounding sounds.

If someone suspicious is behind or ahead of you, cross the street. If necessary, crisscross from one side to the other.

Walk close to the curb to avoid passing too close to shrubbery, dark doorways, and other places of concealment.


Follow your instincts

If you think you are being touched on the subway or on the street, don't second-guess yourself - don't stand for it, or feel ashamed, or be afraid to speak. Report it to an MTA employee or a police officer. Call 911 immediately to report an attack or incident. Call the Police Department's Sex Crime Report Hotline to report past attacks or incidents at 212-267-RAPE (7273). All calls are kept confidential.

The New York City Police Department and MTA New York City Transit collaborated on this SubTalk campaign message that appeared in subway cars earlier this year; the brochure was available in stations.


Cross with Caution

A pedestrian's list of busy intersections in New York City's five boroughs, with tips to cross streets more safely.

OUR DRIVERS...

At NYC Transit, we celebrate our bus operators' safe-driving skills with an annual Safe Bus Operator Appreciation Day. Drivers who are accident free for three or more consecutive years are honored. Most recently, 1500 such operators were recognized.
Here are just a few examples of our safety programs:
• Every bus operator receives an annual safety refresher course at our Training Center.
• Bus operators must take a New York State 19A road test every two years.
• The Bus Command Center makes daily announcements to bus operators concerning safety.

We promote safe-driving in a variety of ways as part of a comprehensive internal safety campaign.

MTA New York City Transit wants you to be a safe, well-informed customer and pedestrian. Safety awareness can prevent accidents. Here we list the intersections, by borough, with the highest number of incidents involving buses, other vehicles and pedestrians. These are the top multiple incident locations that were identified from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2009. Crossing any street requires your full attention, but the streets on this list require extra caution.

STATEN ISLAND
Cross with caution:

• YUKON AV at FOREST HILL RD
• CASTLETON AV at HEBERTON AV
• YUKON AV at LOTT LA
• JEWETT AV at CASTLETON AV
• ST GEORGE FERRY TERMINAL at RICHMOND TERRACE
• VICTORY BLVD at BROOK ST
• VICTORY BLVD at MANOR RD
• VICTORY BLVD at BRADLEY AV
• SOUTH AV at FOREST AV
• INDEPENDENCE AV at FOREST HILL RD
• ARTHUR KILL RD at RIDGEWOOD AV
• MIDLAND AV at HYLAN BLVD
• VICTORY BLVD at SLOSSON AV
• FOREST AV at RICHMOND AV
THE BRONX
Cross with caution:

• WEBSTER AV and E FORDHAM RD
• ELY AV at BARTOW AV
• E FORDHAM RD at 3 AV
• JEROME AV at E FORDHAM RD
• W FORDHAM RD at UNIVERSITY AV
• E 177 ST at DEVOE AV
• E FORDHAM RD at MARION AV
• E TREMONT AV at DEVOE AV
• WEBSTER AV at CLAREMONT PKWY
• W 231 ST at BROADWAY
• BARTOW AV at EDSON AV
• E 149 ST at 3 AV
• WEBSTER AVT at BEDFORD PARK BLVD
QUEENS
Cross with caution:

• SUTPHIN BLVD at ARCHER AV
• ROOSEVELT AV at MAIN ST
• PARSONS BLVD at JAMAICA AV
• PARSONS BLVD at ARCHER AV
• WILLETS PT BLVD at 126 ST
• LIBERTY AV at GUY R BREWER BLVD
• PARSONS BLVD at HILLSIDE AV
• WOODHAVEN BLVD at QUEENS BLVD
• ARCHER AV at 160 ST
• MERRICK BLVD at JAMAICA AV
• QUEENS BLVD at JACKSON AV
• CROSS BAY BLVD at LIBERTY AV
• GRAND AV at 47 ST
• NORTHERN BLVD at MAIN ST
• LEFFERTS BLVD at JAMAICA AV
BROOKLYN
Cross with caution:

• FLATBUSH AV at AV U
• UTICA AV at EASTERN PKWY
• GLENWOOD RD at FLATBUSH AV
• PENNSYLVANIA AV at FULTON ST
• ROCKAWAY PKWY at GLENWOOD RD
• NOSTRAND AV at FULTON ST
• PENNSYLVANIA AV at ATLANTIC AV
• FLATBUSH AV at FILLMORE AV
• NOSTRAND AV at AV U
• E 71 ST at AV U
• UTICA AV at CHURCH AV
• CORTELYOU RD at CONEY ISLAND AV
• NEW YORK AV at CLARKSON AV
• NOSTRAND AV at FLATBUSH AV
• RALPH AV at GLENWOOD RD
• FLATBUSH AV at CHURCH AV
MANHATTAN
Cross with caution:

• E 57 ST at 3 AV
• E 59 ST at 3 AV
• MADISON AV at E 57 ST
• E 42 ST at 5 AV
• E 125 ST at 2 AV
• E 34 ST at 5 AV
• W 57 ST at 6 AV
• W 40 ST at 11 AV
• LEXINGTON AV at E 42 ST
• W 34 ST at 8 AV
• E 57 ST at 1 AV
• MADISON AV at E 96 ST
• E 14 ST at BROADWAY
• W 34 ST at 7 AV
• E 57 ST at 5 AV
• E 57 ST at 2 AV
• E 14 ST at IRVING PL

Click here for more information on how to ride the subways
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