Union faults MTA for inadequate training of new workers

NEW YORK (WABC) -- There are questions over whether new transit workers in New York City are receiving adequate training before they are allowed to operate a subway train.

"We don't want to see anybody injured, we don't want to see any of our passengers get hurt," said TWU President Tony Utano.

The union president says it needs to change.

In the past several weeks, mistakes by relatively new employees have led to trains overrunning platforms, emergency brakes inadvertently activated, and even subway doors opening on the wrong side.

Not widespread problems, but isolated incidents that are raising questions about the promotion and training of transit workers.

"Maybe they're trying to push the training along a little quicker and they're trying to get people out there," said Utano.

He tells Eyewitness News the MTA is struggling with a shortage of conductors and motormen. That training is being accelerated and new employees may be getting shortchanged.

"There are train operators that are retiring quicker than they can hire," said Utano. "So if they're retiring in bunches when they're bringing them in, they need to train them and put them out, otherwise there's nobody to drive the trains.".

A spokesman insists that the MTA's program has been "..extremely successful in increasing training time. Accordingly only a very small percentage of delays are attributed to new train operators."

No one has been injured in any of these latest incidents. But riders say the questions are troubling.

"When you get on the job you need to be trained by some senior people," said one rider.

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