Watch CBS News

Exclusive: MTA Unveils Plan For 'Trespasser Task Force' To Stop People From Jumping Onto Subway Tracks

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- More subways are being delayed due to people on the tracks and CBS2 has exclusively learned the MTA's plan for solving this issue and reducing delays.

Cell phone video shows a subway car trying to stop short as it approaches a man standing on the tracks, but the R train pins the man between the car and platform before he wriggles free and continues roaming the rails.

This happened Monday afternoon at the 8th Street station.

"'He sort of just dove in for the tracks," said the commuter who took the video.

He says after the man was hit, he disappeared in the tunnel.

"Just continued walking into the tracks and vanished. Police were on the scene in less than five minutes and were unable to locate him," the commuter said.

Police say people standing on the tracks is a growing issue.

The MTA says it happened again Friday morning. A man jumped on the tracks at 125th Street, delaying at least 18 trains  for about a half hour during the morning commute.

"You know, when trains are delayed, service is impacted. It affects everybody in the city," said Jose Melendez, with the Transit Workers Union.

CBS2 has exclusively learned there was a 50% increase in subway delays due to people on the tracks in November compared to October.

"How much of it, from what you can tell, is people jumping on voluntarily or people being pushed?" CBS2's Ali Bauman asked MTA acting CEO Janno Lieber.

"There have been a few high-profile incidents where people are pushed onto the tracks ... but the bigger issue is these incidents of people, many of whom have mental health problems, getting onto tracks," Lieber said.

The disturbing trend has sparked Lieber to create a brand new "Trespasser Task Force" to find solutions for preventing people from jumping on, as well as ask City Hall for a stronger presence of police and mental health workers on the platforms.

"I set up a task force because we want the New York City Transit Authority, which runs the subways and the commuter railroads, Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North, all are experiencing this issue and we want them all to be dealing with this collectively to come up with some strategy. But then, we're going to turn to the police department and city of New York especially and our own MTA police and say we need your help," Lieber said.

As more commuter return to the office, the MTA says finding solutions is vital to the city's recovery.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.