The New York City subway system is a labyrinth of escalator-laden tunnels that have led to a steady stream of escalations and escalator fatalities over the years.
Now, the MTA has finally taken action to help mitigate the problem and has begun issuing “escalator alerts” to subway stations.
The MTA said the alert system, which will be rolled out nationwide, will alert subway workers when escalators on platforms are at risk of closing, which can lead to escalator closures.
The alerts will be displayed on escalators, but will also be visible on the platform, the subway’s public safety department said.
It’s part of a wider effort to increase awareness about the safety of escalating, the agency said.
The escalator alert system is the first of its kind in the country and is expected to be rolled into the MTA’s network later this year, MTA President Thomas Prendergast said in a statement.
“It’s our commitment to make our subway system safer and more accessible for all,” Prenderpaugh said.
“By giving subway workers more information, the alert will enable us to make smarter subway decisions.”
The MTA added that escalators must be closed for at least 30 seconds at the time of the alert.
MTA officials say the alerts will also alert subway stations to any escalator that’s malfunctioning.MTA officials say a “panic button” will be in place for subway workers in subway stations during the alerts, which are not mandatory, and will include a call to action button for people to get to a safe exit.
The call to exit button will also include a safety warning to passengers and the call for a subway station to reopen.
The agency has also been working to reduce escalator deaths, and is working with the City of New York to create a “safety alert plan” to improve safety at the city’s subway stations, according to a statement from the MTA.