Home Transit LaborTWU To promote platform safety, a TWU rap

To promote platform safety, a TWU rap

by Benjamin Kabak

Over the weekend, a 22-year-old Bronx man dropped his iPhone in the subway tracks, and then he decided to go it. He electrocuted himself upon jumping into the tracks, and then the incoming 2 train struck him. It was a fatal accident, and it wasn’t the only one this weekend. Two other New Yorkers — both determined to be suicides — were killed by trains this past weekend.

After an initial flurry of press over subway/passenger collisions earlier this year, the coverage has largely died down, but the issue remains. As part of a general awareness campaign, the TWU released the video posted above. It’s a rap urging straphangers to stand away from the platform edge as trains enter subway stations, and it’s sage advice. (The call at the end of the video for slower trains upon entering stations is, on the other hand, not a wise one.)

But will the video solve the problem? An article in The Post this weekend delves into the numbers behind subway deaths, and suicides have a slight edge over the last three years. According to numbers The Post received from a FOIA request, 78 of 153 deaths caused by subway trains from 2010-2012 are believed to be suicides. So far this year, 16 of 28 deaths fall in that category as well.

With these numbers on hand, New York politicians again called for the MTA to implement some safety measures, including as Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said, “better early-warning systems to detect people on our subway tracks.” But people who jump in front of an incoming train wouldn’t trigger the warning system early enough and even a train traveling at reduced speeds will still kill someone who leaps in front of it. Platform edge barriers — an expensive and sometimes impractical solution — remain the best deterrent.

Meanwhile, it’s not unreasonable to question how much of a problem these collisions truly are. According to Pete Donohue’s latest, there were 657 train/passenger collisions from 2008 through 2012 out of over 8 billion subway riders and around a quarter of those were attempted suicides. As the TWU rap says, stand back just a little bit, don’t jump in the tracks over replaceable items, and personal safety shouldn’t be an issue.

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Phillip Roncoroni June 3, 2013 - 3:54 pm

The LIRR Gap Rap video is better and catchier than this…

LIRR “Gap Rap,” by Dr. John Clarke, LIRR Medical Director

Tal F June 3, 2013 - 4:08 pm

This is absolutely shameful. In light of the evidence you present regarding the TWU’s previous tussles with the MTA, it’s clear this video is nothing but self-interested advocacy masquerading as a PSA. It boggles the mind how a union can direct their members to do something which is directly against the interest of their employer and its customers, especially to act individually, rather than collectively, as in a strike. If I were the MTA, I’d insist on a clause in the next contract prohibiting such individual actions. It is union actions like these that are behind the poor level of service offered by the MTA. I find it very unlikely you’d find the MTA doing something to deliberately worsen the bargaining position of union employees if it also adversely affects customers.

Bolwerk June 3, 2013 - 5:20 pm

As long as they do their jobs, I don’t really see the harm here. They do have a right to advocate, whether we agree or not.

That said, this is stupid and embarrassing. And stupid and embarrassing raps have been used in plenty of contexts.

nycpat June 3, 2013 - 6:28 pm

I think your comments are hyperbolic and overwrought.
T/Os are not going to slow down. Every day I see people purposely and passive aggressively taunt T/Os by standing on the yellow or putting their newspapers, bags, feet over the edge. Do T/Os stop and sound their horn? No.
As for the video, I’m not going to watch it. The last rap video I watched was “Get Metsmerized” and that permanently ruined rap/hiphop for me.

Adirondacker12800 June 4, 2013 - 12:51 am

don’t jump in the tracks over replaceable items

What irreplaceable items do people carry with them on the subway that are worth jumping onto the tracks for? Infants? What else?

Bolwerk June 4, 2013 - 10:44 am

Well, I sometimes have irreplaceable work stored on my phone or laptop, but then I don’t dangle my phone or laptop over the edge of the tracks either….

Alon Levy June 4, 2013 - 7:56 pm

My students’ midterms.

But I will never hold these anywhere they could fall onto SkyTrain tracks.

Bolwerk June 4, 2013 - 11:05 pm

Why not? There will be more students next year.

Alon Levy June 5, 2013 - 12:54 am

Students tend not to like it when their midterms are shredded, unless they’re the ones doing the shredding.

Bolwerk June 5, 2013 - 4:09 pm

If you lose them, you can rap an apology.

Alon Levy June 4, 2013 - 7:57 pm

How much work would be required to install platform edge doors at all stations (and/or platform screen doors at all underground stations)? Specifically how many union jobs would such a project create and for how many years?


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