The Metropolitan Transportation Authority had distressing news last week: Deaths on subway-train tracks soared in 2022, to 88.
It’s a little-remarked element of our post-2020 era of disorder and chaos.
But as with everything else in New York in the past three years, things went awry. Last year’s 88 track deaths were 35% above the 2018 and 2019 averages — 65 each year.
For context, 120 pedestrians died above ground last year in crashes with cars or trucks, close to the average of 121 in 2018 and 2019.
What’s going on? Of 1,365 known subway-track incidents in 2022 (most of which didn’t end in death), about 15% were accidental falls or medical emergencies, a new MTA analysis finds.
A thankfully surprisingly low number — fewer than 10% — was suicides or suicide attempts.
An even smaller percentage was assaults — that is, people being pushed to the tracks. (Though with pushes to the tracks comprising three of last year’s 10 subway murders, a 30-year high, a small percentage is too many.)
In most cases — well more than two-thirds — people ended up on the tracks voluntarily.
In 20% of total cases, people were clearly mentally ill (but not attempting suicide); in another 10% or so, people were drugged or drunk.
The worst spike in track intrusions started a little more than a year ago, in December 2021 to February 2022. (This includes January 2022, when Michelle Go was pushed to her death in Times Square by a mentally ill, violent ex-con.)
This winter, track intrusions are down 30%.
Why? Largely police enforcement.
Author(s): Nicole Gelinas
Publication Date: 2 April 2023
Publication Site: NY Post