By Philip Newman
The MTA is spreading the word on subway trains in five languages and even on MetroCards with the message “Stay away from the platform edge.”
Transit officials said 146 people were struck by subway trains and 47 of them killed last year after either falling or reaching tracks intentionally.
“Venturing onto the subway tracks is the most dangerous thing a customer can do, so this is an issue we take extremely seriously,” said Cheryl Kennedy, vice president of System Safety for New York City Transit. “We have created and are posting visible reminders of the hazards of either standing too close to the platform edge or descending to the tracks to retrieve a dropped item.”
The message is going out via advertisements on subway trains; the backs of MetroCards; brochures in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Russian; On the Go Travel Stations on trains and in stations; digital subway car signs; train announcements; and Facebook and Twitter social media messaging.
The first poster, which appeared last week, was “Don’t Become a Statistic.” It focuses on numbers, letting riders know just how often these incidents occur and reminding them that standing on the platform edge is dangerous.
Straphangers are urged never to try to climb down to the roadbed tracks to try to retrieve something they dropped.
Notifying a police officer, station agent or other Metropolitan Transportation Authority employee is the safe way to get an item, the message reminds passengers.
Also, the MTA has recently urged straphangers to be alert lest thieves grab electronic gadgets on subway trains and the agency has just this week launched a new campaign to that end.
The theme is “Don’t be a target of opportunity!”
Posters have gone up in subway trains with the message “Safeguard Your Stuff.”
Light and compact electronic devices have become the favorite targets of opportunistic thieves, who take advantage of riders who fail to pay attention to their surroundings.
“Unfortunately, these items have become tempting targets for thieves and what we are seeking to do with this campaign is to remind our customers to take extra care when using them by being watchful of their environment,” said NYC Transit President Thomas Prendergast.
City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said “enforcement and public awareness are both critical to combating thefts of iPhones and other electronic devices on the subway. This campaign reminds transit riders that when you are aware of your surroundings and guard your electronic devices, you help protect yourself against would-be thieves.”
Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at [email protected] or phone at 718-260-4536.