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MTA Report: Metro-North Sacrificed Safety For On-Time Performance

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- The Metro-North Railroad has sacrificed safety for on-time performance, according to a report released Wednesday by a Metropolitan Transportation Authority panel.

The report echoes an assessment conducted this year by the Federal Railroad Administration, which investigated after a string of Metro-North accidents including a December 2013 derailment that killed four riders in the Bronx.

The MTA panel examined safety and maintenance practices at Metro-North, the Long Island Rail Road and the city's subway system. It found that the ``safety culture'' at the LIRR and the subway system ``appears to be performing fairly well.''

But at Metro-North, the panel said, "there is strong evidence to suggest that this is not the case."

The panel identified tension between train operations and maintenance at all three agencies but said the issue is "magnified" at Metro-North, where on-time performance has been paramount.

Officials at the railroad, which connects the city to its northern suburbs and Connecticut, have said they are working to improve safety practices.

Riders are weighing in on findings from a new report saying Metro-North has sacrificed safety for on-time performance.

The findings of the report aren't surprising to George, who rides the train from Midtown to Spuyten Duyvil once a week to visit his son.

"The MTA has been very lax about safety instead of other considerations," he told WCBS 880's Monica Miller

MTA Report: Metro-North Sacrificed Safety For On-Time Performance

"You learn from mistakes. I mean, mistakes can happen, but the questions is how much you take action to make sure it doesn't happen again," Nancy said, George's wife.

George says getting the trains to run on time while keeping safety a priority is possible.

"I would think that with proper management and good procedures in hand, both should be done. They don't sound like landing on the moon to me," George said.

"My son takes it every day. He commutes and it does worry me," George said.

The MTA panel's report includes 29 recommendations for the three rail systems including the implementation of a computerized maintenance management system.

The three rail agencies, all overseen by the MTA, carry a combined 6 million daily commuters.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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