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Deucey

MTA: "You're wrong about training". NY Controller: "I have the receipts."

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http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/poor-training-subway-operators-puts-riders-risk-mta-audit-article-1.3850013

 

A damning state controller audit gives the MTA’s schooling of subway operators and conductors a failing grade, noting that its poorly run training programs may be leading to bad rides and safety hazards.

The audit’s findings are in lockstep with a Daily News report Monday, in which veteran transit workers said newly hired operators receive a bad education, causing delays and endangering passengers.

The MTA was also not in compliance in sending train crews for required medical assessments on time, according to the audit to be released Friday.

“Shortfalls in training and medical checkups for subway workers raise concerns not just for rider service, but for riders’ safety,” state controller Tom DiNapoli said in a statement.

“We hope the MTA takes our recommendations in good faith for what they are — informed suggestions for improving the subway system.”

The auditors found the Metropolitan Transportation Authority did a sloppy job of keeping tabs on its operators and conductors’ testing history — which assess the skills they learn during training. Nearly 57% of the 106 operators and conductors sampled in the audit were missing crucial quizzes in their files.

The audit said there appears to be a link between failed or missing tests and the transit workers’ later job performance.

All four operators in the sample who had five or more subway snafus during the nearly three-year audit period had a history of failing grades or missing tests and quizzes.

One who had nine screwups — including accidentally pulling the emergency brake seven times — was missing road test exam results and six quizzes in his file, according to auditors.

The deficiencies went beyond the MTA’s New Train Operator Transition program, which began in 2013. Subway workers are required to take a refresher course every three years.

The audit said slightly more than half of the 45 operators and conductors it examined didn’t pass the test administered at the end of the refresher class. The test-takers who bombed still returned to their jobs.

The MTA said the audit made several critical mistakes, calling its sample size too small. The agency also said the refresher course has graded assessments to guide further training — but they’re not pass or fail tests like the audit described.

“Safety is the number-one priority at New York City Transit and accordingly the accident and injury rates are extremely low for both customers and employees,” the MTA said.

The News reported Monday that veteran transit workers blamed the new train operator program for subway mishaps.

The workers said new hires don’t learn crucial real-world skills like starting and stopping in stations and at switches because two months of their training is spent in a rail yard with little supervision and instruction.

The old school workers alluded to 11 subway blunders between Feb. 8 and Feb. 22 involving operators who went through the program.

Just Tuesday, a subway operator who went through the program in 2014 accidentally sent his local C train onto an express A train track between the Canal St. and W. Fourth St. stations, records show. He has had 13 foulups since 2014.

The state controller also released a similarly disturbing audit about the Staten Island Railway, noting its training files for employees were missing tests or had ungraded exams.

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1 hour ago, The MTA said:

Different article, but this has kind of been posted already 

 

Trust that I knew that. :)

 

The difference is that before it's workers; this time it's actually a political authority providing evidence of what the workplace "scuttlebutt" was saying.

Going from anecdotal to hard evidence - especially the missing test scores - makes it a different topic.

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The comment that the comptroller took too small of a sample seems to be the stock answer from most agencies when they are audited. When I was with the state many years ago and the facility that I worked was audited, the response to the comptroller's report was the same and for the most part nothing changed.

The charges here are very serious and are not to be taken lightly or dismissed out of hand. I do not care about the sample size as the most important thing here is that the records be updated and all actions that have to be taken made the top priority of the agency as this affects the lives of the riding public. This is not the time for a response that the sample size it was was too small, it was more of a wake up call and should be taken as such by the MTA.

 

 

 

 

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The mainland subway isn't the only one with issues. In semi-related news:

 

http://www.silive.com/news/2018/03/mta_audit_sir_operaters_not_su.html

 

Quote

 

MTA audit: Staten Island Railway operators not sufficiently trained or tested

Updated 10:32 AM; Posted 10:32 AM

 

By Tracey Porpora

Porpora@siadvance.com

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A state audit concluded that the Staten Island Railway (SIR) doesn't have sufficient documentation to show its operators have been trained properly or have undergone routine medical testing.

The purpose of the audit -- conducted by the Office of the State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli -- was to determine whether the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and SIR "established and implemented training and retraining programs for train crews to ensure safe train operations."

In addition, the audit aimed to determine "whether SIR ensured that train crews are medically fit and periodically monitored for continued medical fitness."

"We found that SIR's records were insufficient to document that training was satisfactorily completed. For example, our testing found that, for our randomly selected sample of conductors who underwent Induction Training during our audit period, 61 percent (55 of 90) of test papers were either not graded or missing," says the audit report.

"In addition, for our randomly selected sample of engineers, 81.7 percent (49 of 60) of test papers for those newly hired and 41.7 percent (30 of 72) of test papers for those promoted were either not graded or missing."

Other audit findings include:

SIR's conductors and engineers are required to take Refresher Training courses that help ensure safe procedures. Five of the 10 conductors randomly sampled were required to take Refresher Training during the audit scope period. "However, only two of the five had training records that supported satisfactory completion of all exams. We found similar results for the Signals Refresher Training, with only two of eight conductors having records to support satisfactory completion," the audit says.

Train crews were not in compliance with medical assessment requirements. "For example, for two of the 10 conductors sampled, their periodic examinations were late: one by 209 days and the other by 79 days," says the audit report.

SAFETY "NO.1 PRIORITY"

In response to the audit, Shams Tarek, an MTA spokesperson said: "Safety is the number-one priority at New York City Transit, and accordingly the accident and injury rates are extremely low for both customers and employees. We're proud of our employees and take extensive measures to make sure that the transit system is safe and records are kept to support that."

Sources told the Advance that the MTA has more than 3,300 conductors and 3,500 train operators.

Sources also said the audit calls any medical exam not held on an employee's exact anniversary date to be not in compliance.

 

 

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"The MTA said the audit made several critical mistakes, calling its sample size too small. The agency also said the refresher course has graded assessments to guide further training — but they’re not pass or fail tests like the audit described."

Having a larger sample size certainly makes a difference, but when will the MTA learn it's point? Can't they just see their amount of well trained and refreshed employees are diminishing, and at an increasingly prevelant rate, just like the stability of the systems they run? Which may have a noticeable correlation with each other. Sure, the MTA has tons of employees, it's NYC, but none of them will get better or stay safe when the audit states a potentially large amount is getting worse, and the MTA shrugs it off or restate that they always focus upon safety and do little until another catastrophe occurs. Soon hopefully, Once the MTA realizes more and more employees are getting worse due to it's management, which im sure many inside the agency are already aware of, maybe it'll stop drinking Vodka over the audits and take notice.

 

 

Edited by NoHacksJustKhaks

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What stands out to me the most are the timely medical tests for train crews or lack thereof I should say. With so many tragic and deadly train accidents over the past few years, it is especially important that the people operating the trains are fit for duty. It's easy to poke fun at the MTA for their attempts to discredit the reports with claims of too low of a sample, but with things like sleep apnea and other related medical conditions that can take an operator's attention away from the rails for even a second, this is no laughing matter. To not have those medical checkups completed in a timely fashion could literally mean the difference between life and death, especially when we've seen this happen way too often as of late.

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51 minutes ago, Lance said:

What stands out to me the most are the timely medical tests for train crews or lack thereof I should say. With so many tragic and deadly train accidents over the past few years, it is especially important that the people operating the trains are fit for duty. It's easy to poke fun at the MTA for their attempts to discredit the reports with claims of too low of a sample, but with things like sleep apnea and other related medical conditions that can take an operator's attention away from the rails for even a second, this is no laughing matter. To not have those medical checkups completed in a timely fashion could literally mean the difference between life and death, especially when we've seen this happen way too often as of late.

Having been a sleep apnea sufferer since my mid-20s (and probably back to high school), I honestly believe the condition is being used as a scapegoat to have transport companies avoid culpability.

We sleep with a damn machine and mask on, we wake up fatigued about as often as not, yet when we get off "autopilot" or diminished "thinking" - which usually is after we shower, we're as alert as anyone else (whether or not we use stimulants like caffeine).

Does that absolve the NJT motorman that tore up Hoboken? No, because micro sleeps can happen, but given that there are millions of us with it and millions of us undiagnosed with it and we're not destroying every physical construct or losing billions in trade values or ignoring kids acting up in class - etc., I don't buy the conclusions the NTSB reports make to say sleep apnea is a problem.

It's too convenient to use that illness as an a reason for inattentiveness. One could easily blame ADD and ADHD or morale hazards (i.e. job satisfaction) for it. But I'm speaking from experience of having that damned mask on my face for 14 years.

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I get where you're coming from and you're probably right in regards to the use the illness as a catch-all excuse. It does not negate my point though, which is that employees need to be screened regularly for physical and mental fitness and not whenever they get around to it. It's all about making sure incidents like that don't happen.

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