New Metro-North Officer Will Monitor Safety Of Workers, Riders

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The MTA has created the position of Chief Safety Officer to oversee all MTA operations, including the Metro-North Railroad. Photo Credit: File

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has announced the creation of a Chief Safety Officer who will be responsible for the safety of workers and riders on Metro-North and all MTA operations.

The new CSO will report directly to CEO Thomas F. Prendergast.

“The safety of our customers and employees is unquestionably the top priority for the MTA, and these steps will make sure this emphasis on safety is built into the operations of every MTA agency,” Prendergast said in a statement. “The events of the last year have made clear to everyone in the MTA how important it is to create a culture where all employees act to eliminate risks, and changing our executive structure will ensure safety remains a dedicated agency value.”

Metro-North has endured a great deal of problems over the last year, including two derailments, one of which was fatal and a power outage that left the New Haven Line crippled for days.

The commuter rail has also had to contend with multiple incidents of heavy delays due to severe weather as well as human and mechanical errors.

In addition to the CSO, the MTA has also created a new Safety Committee on its board to provide focused oversight of safety issues.

Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road announced they have installed automatic speed controls at 10 critical curves and one moveable bridge since the fatal derailment in the Bronx in December.

“The MTA has a long tradition of safe and reliable operations, which is why our customers and our employees are rightly upset with the failures we’ve seen in the last year,” Prendergast said in a statement. “We are making these and many other improvements so our customers and employees can be confident on the MTA network. Safety is a mindset, not a checklist, and these improvements are important actions to ensure the MTA earns the trust of our customers and employees again.”

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