Expert offers tips on how to stay safe on New York City subway platforms

Kristin Thorne Image
Monday, January 24, 2022
Tips to stay safe on New York City subway platforms
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Kristin Thorne shares some basic subway platform safety tips from a retired officer.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The Metropolitan Transit Authority is warning New York City subway riders not to stand at the edge of the platform after several disturbing incidents of people being pushed into oncoming trains.

Eyewitness News reporter Kristin Thorne met with retired Hoboken Emergency Services Unit Supervisor Cesar Olavarria at the 179th Street station in Jamaica to go over basic platform safety tips. Olavarria also served with the Hudson County SWAT team.

Olavarria said riders should have situational awareness, meaning they should be looking at everyone around them and should be in a protective state of mind.

"It's about mindset," he said. "Don't have a false sense of security."

Olavarria said people should not go on their phones while waiting on the platform because then their eyes are not on what's happening around them. Not to mention, when most people are on their phones they're leaning forward and down - the worst position you can be in to respond to an attack.

Olavarria encouraged riders to put their phones away and not even look at them while waiting on the platform.

He said people should never wait for a train standing on the yellow line near the tracks. He said the best option while standing on the platform is to put your back up against a pillar or wall.

Olavarria said if that is not an option, stand in the middle of the platform in a boxer-fighting stance - with one foot in front of the other. Olavarria, who teaches martial arts, said that puts your body in a position so that if you are pushed, you may not go as far.

Olavarria encouraged riders to look out for one another. If you see someone standing too close to the edge of the platform, politely advise them to back up.

RELATED | MTA officials address alarming rise in crime, promise more uniformed officers on platforms

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