Calling the Sunday night outage unprecedented and unacceptable, New York Governor Kathy Hochul pledged to New York City subway riders to find out what caused the chain reaction of the events leading up to the shutdown of more than 80 trains for more than four hours.
Speaking to reporters on Monday morning outside a subway station, Hochul said Consolidated Edison reported a momentary outage on Sunday night around 8:20 p.m. ET. This failure triggered the start of the backup system. However, as the system tried to get back to normal, she said an increase caused the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to lose the ability to report or communicate with half the system.
“Last night was unacceptable,” she said. “If you are one of those bikers or those people who rely on safe transportation, the system has failed you. The MTA is the lifeblood of the city, and a disruption of this magnitude can be catastrophic. “
In two cases, trains stopped between stations and MTA staff and emergency responders coordinated evacuations in the tunnels for these passengers.
However, in two other instances where trains were between stops, passengers performed what the governor called “self-evacuation,” where they entered the tunnels on their own. This extended the time needed to fully restore the system by roughly 90 minutes as New York firefighters checked the trails.
“What we went through was a lot of anxiety for the citizens of the city who were on the trains, and of the five trains in particular that were between the stations, more than 550 people were affected,” Hochul said. , noting that the fifth train was re-platform. “Again, this is a scary situation, something we don’t want New Yorkers to have to go through again.”
Full service resumed around 1:30 a.m., and the busiest Monday morning commute was moving, as usual, she added.
“I think people should feel comfortable, safe and secure going to work this morning. And we welcomed them again, ”said the governor.
Still, Hochul called for an immediate examination to determine the cause of the massive disruption. She was joined at Monday’s briefing by acting chairman and CEO of MTA, Janno Lieber, and Demetrius Crichlow, senior vice president of subways.
She added that she thanked them for their work all night in getting the system back to normal and trusted them to investigate.
“We need to know why the system has broken down and why there is a communication failure between the railway center, the railway control center and the trains,” said the governor. “I would also be clear that we have had no indication of malicious actions that would have created the situation, and that is why I want to know exactly what happened to prevent it from happening again.”
The incident occurred just four days after State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli issued an audit showing MTA’s Metro-North passenger rail service lacked documented evidence that procedures for unexpected occurrences or unforeseen events were followed in 38 of the 80 cases examined.
In addition, the audit found that 26 of the 80 cases should have triggered an appeal to activate or put its emergency management working group on hold. Yet the review found that the working group had only been contacted once in all of these cases.
Over the past month, the state agency that oversees mass transit and passenger rail transportation in the New York City area has undergone a significant change in leadership. Lieber replaced Patrick Foye as interim president and CEO of Empire State Development, the state’s economic development arm.
However, before stepping down, Governor Andrew Cuomo sought to appoint Sarah Feinberg as the authority’s first chairwoman. Feinberg, who resigned last month as interim president of MTA’s New York City Transit, was previously a director of the Federal Railroad Administration.
To do this, however, Cuomo needed the state legislature to pass a law allowing the division of president and chief executive officer positions. A deal had been reached, but lawmakers did not pass it until the end of the session in June. They also did not have the opportunity to return for a special session before the former governor resigned last week in light of numerous allegations of sexual harassment.
This arrangement cannot be transferred to the Hochul administration. Last Thursday, the new governor told Spectrum News NY1 Inside City Hall and at a press conference that the way she handles appointments to the MTA and other state agencies would differ from Cuomo.
“The MTA is going to be a lot more liberated, and I won’t be filling positions with political allies, because there is a lot of talent there, and I want a diverse population, representing the runners, which is a diverse population. It makes sense for me to do that, ”she said on NY1.
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Key words: News, New York, State
Original author: Steve Bittenbender, The Center Square contributor
Original location: New York subway outage highlights continuing problems with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority