What to Know
- The Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced Monday it will convene a panel of experts to look into its Bombardier R179 fleet -- which has been plagued with a myriad of issues in recent months and will be shelved indefinitely.
- The MTA will convene a panel of safety, process, legal and car experts to examine recurring issues with the Bombardier-built R179 fleet.
- The decision to hold the cars out of service and form the panel comes as NYC Transit leaders determined the necessity for a comprehensive assessment to restore confidence in Bombardier Transportation’s quality assurance protocols for the fleet -- this after numerous problems that have arisen since the start of passenger trips, according to the MTA.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced Monday it will convene a panel of experts to look into its Bombardier R179 fleet -- which has been plagued with a myriad of issues in recent months and will be shelved indefinitely.
The MTA will convene a panel of safety, process, legal and car experts to examine recurring issues with the Bombardier-built R179 fleet.
The decision to hold the cars out of service and form the panel comes as NYC Transit leaders determined the necessity for a comprehensive assessment to restore confidence in Bombardier Transportation’s quality assurance protocols for the fleet -- this after numerous problems that have arisen since the start of passenger trips, according to the MTA.
MTA: The Latest Bombardier-Related Issue Occurred Earlier This Month
This latest development comes almost two weeks since the MTA pulled its entire Bombardier R179 fleet out of service -- just days before New York City was set to enter Phase 1 of its reopening -- as it launched an investigation into an alleged incident in which a train became separated between the sixth and seventh cars of a ten-car train Wednesday morning.
The incident took place just after 1 a.m. June 3 on a northbound A train as it entered Chambers Street Station, according to Interim President of NYC Transit Sarah Feinberg. Ten passengers were safely removed with no reported injuries.
“At this time, we believe this to be an isolated incident, however, I am launching a full investigation, and out of an abundance of caution, the entire R179 fleet is being pulled from service until further notice. We have redeployed additional spare cars and minimal impacts to service are anticipated," Feinberg said in a statement.
“This marks the latest unacceptable issue with one of Bombardier’s R179 cars. Customer and employee safety is New York City Transit’s North Star. We will not compromise one inch on safety. We will not return the fleet to service without certainty and validation that all cars are fit for passenger service – period," Feinberg's statement goes on to say.
In a statement given to NBC 4 following the announcement of the MTA convening a panel of experts Monday, Bombardier said in part: However, i Bombardier said in part: "Bombardier shares New York City Transit’s commitment to providing safe and reliable travel for the many riders who depend on the subway system every day. Therefore, we will cooperate fully with the process outlined by NYCT’s third party investigation of the R179 fleet.
"We strongly believe the R179 is a safe vehicle. We further believe the R179 is on a clear path to the highest level of performance, similar to the R62A and R142 subway cars, M7 commuter cars and other products and services that Bombardier has supplied to the MTA and to the transit industry at large."
The statement goes on to say: "We took the recent train separation incident and earlier events very seriously, moving quickly to investigate thoroughly and take appropriate action. We always stand behind our products, take every measure to honor our commitments to our customers, and hold our suppliers accountable to the highest standards."
NYCT Says It's Had Other Issue With Bombardier Fleet
Earlier this year, the MTA pulled nearly 300 newly delivered subway cars for safety reasons effective immediately, citing an analysis of "two recent incidents" involving doors. No passengers were injured in either case.
A source familiar with the investigation confirmed to NBC New York at the time that at least one of the incidents involved the doors opening while the train was moving, putting passengers at risk.
The problems with the Bombardier trains happened "over the holidays," possibly in late December and early January, one source familiar with the incidents told News 4 at the time. In total, 298 cars were pulled, affecting cars on the A, C, J and Z lines.
In a statement, then NYCT President Andy Byford said two recent incidents with the Bombardier R179 subway cars raised questions about "the reliable operation of a door mechanism" on the newly delivered cars.
He added that "the MTA has identified repeated issues with Bombardier’s performance and finds this latest development unacceptable. We intend to hold the company fully accountable.”
However, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer blasted the MTA regarding the incident earlier this year, saying his office released an audit a month before that showed how its contract with Bombardier was late -- three years behind schedule -- and cost taxpayers "millions" of additional dollars.
Stringer said that audit showed layers of mismanagement in the MTA's oversight of the contract, repeat failures to meet contact deadlines, poor project management, technical breakdowns and structural defects that delayed cars being put into service. Other defects had cars yanked.
However, Bombardier pointed fingers at its subcontractor who manufactures the doors.
“Our investigation shows that the doors were not properly calibrated by Kangni, the door operator supplier," state statement from Bombardier read.
In short, the chain of blame in the incident went: Stringer blamed the MTA for failing to purchase quality products; the MTA blamed Bombardier for faulty equipment; and Bombardier blamed their subcontractor Kangni for the door malfunctions.