A 65-year-old MTA conductor doing platform duty was pushed to the tracks of the Hoyt-Schermerhorn subway station in Brooklyn Tuesday in what union reps described as "an unprovoked and cowardly attack by an apparently deranged individual."
The conductor struck his head onto the roadbed, according to union officials. The MTA said he suffered injuries to his neck, back and head and was taken conscious and alert to a hospital. He is expected to be OK.
Eric Loegel, TWU Local 100’s vice President of RTO, representing conductors and train operators, said there was no argument between the suspect and the conductor prior to the shove. Police are still looking for the attacker.
“He just shoved the conductor off the platform onto the tracks and ran off," Loegel said. "This was an outrageous attack on a transit worker. A crazed assailant pushed one of our conductors onto live tracks. He is hurt but conscious right now. Thank God, he’s alive. Nobody deserves this, certainly not one of our front-line TWU members. I hope the suspect is caught fast and justice is served."
It was just one of at least three attacks on MTA workers within 24 hours. About 10 minutes after the conductor was shoved, a man allegedly walked up to a bus driver's window in Queens, verbally assaulted him and struck the window with his first, shattering it, MTA officials say. The Q56 bus had been at a bus stop at Jamaica Avenue and 132nd Street at the time. No injuries were reported.
The night before, a different male suspect allegedly punched a bus driver in the face several times in Manhattan.
New York City Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg condemned the trio of attacks and called for more to be done to protect transit workers.
The attacks also come amid the MTA's largest financial crisis in history because of the pandemic. In a scathing op-ed published in the New York Times on Tuesday, MTA Chairman Pat Foye and President of the Transport Workers Union John Samuelsen sounded alarm on the agency's $16 billion deficit.
"As chief executive of North America’s largest transportation system, and as president of the country’s biggest transit workers’ union, we have had our fair share of disputes," they wrote. "But we agree on this: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is facing a five-alarm-fire — and the Republican majority in the U.S. Senate seems content to sit back and do nothing while it burns."